Known for his characteristic near-soprano vibrato and refined voice, Aaron Neville is an acclaimed American R&B musician. Born on January 24, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Neville has been active as a musician since 1960. Apart from R&B, he has also explored other avenues in musical genres, such as Soul, Country, Gospel, Jazz, Pop and Adult Contemporary. Neville would often enjoy singing in his childhood, but it was only in the early 1960s when he was recognized for some top-charting singles. Although Neville traces his descent from African American and Native American heritage, his music also occasionally features Cajun and Creole influences.
One of his earliest productions came in the form of a low-budget single, by the name of “Over You” (1960). However, Aaron Neville’s ingenuousness was displayed quite clearly in one of his earliest singles, “Tell It Like It Is” (1966). This song came amongst the top most ranks in Billboard’s R&B chart, for a consecutive period of five weeks in 1967. It was subsequently awarded a gold status after reaching #2 on the Hot 100 list and selling over a million copies. The Rock band Heart did a remake of the song, which was also a top hit. Some other songs that became popular from this period include “She Took You for a Ride” and “You Think You’re So Smart“. Neville is perhaps known most fondly for being a part of the family group The Neville Brothers, which was formed in 1977 and is active to the present date. Some of the band’s most recognized albums include The Neville Brothers (1978), Uptown (1987), Yellow Moon (1989) and Family Groove (1992). Their debut album’s “Bird on the Wire” is perhaps the most famous track, with several other contemporary bands producing their own renditions of the song in later years.
Towards the end of the 1980s, Neville was often affiliated with the works of Linda Ronstadt, a popular American singer of the time. He worked with her on the album, Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind (1989), exploring other themes in pop, rock and R&B culture. The album subsequently took a large popularity with the masses, selling over more than 3 million copies, and later being certified triple platinum. Some of the most recognized songs included “Don’t Know Much” and “All My Life“, both winning Grammy awards and topping multiple billboard charts. However, Neville chose to venture in to unfamiliar territories in R&B music in the beginning of 1990s, subsequently temporarily setting aside the old, more familiar taste that his fans had initially drawn towards. His illustrious and daring adventures in to the totally separate world of country music were the most noticed change, with Neville promising a country album in late 1994. The entire idea was to converge the genres of country and blues in the form of some exquisite tunes, which were to feature in an ensemble album called, Rhythm Country and Blues. Towards the latter half of the 1990s, Aaron Neville also sought interest in gospel, and developed a number of productions bearing significant gospel features, and as late as the late 2000s, this trend continued with the likes of I Know I’ve Changed (2010) making it to the stage. Then again, the fantastic melodies and blues roots of Neville’s earlier interest in R&B was what his fans adored the most, and compilation albums such as Mojo Soul (2006) proving this fact.