Art Neville dies at age 81
Neville, a mainstay of the New Orleans music scene and father of Fox News anchor Arthel Neville, had been in declining health.
New Orleans legend Art Neville, aka “Poppa Funk,” has died. He was 81.
The artist — and father of three including Fox News anchor Arthel Neville — died at his home on Monday, according to his manager, Kent Sorrell.
“Art ‘Poppa Funk’ Neville passed away peacefully this morning at home with his adoring wife, Lorraine, by his side,” Sorrell said in an email.
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The cause of death was not immediately detailed; Neville had battled a number of health issues, including complications from back surgery.
“Louisiana lost an icon today,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release.
Neville was a member of a storied New Orleans musical family. He performed with his siblings in the Neville Brothers, and founded the groundbreaking funk group the Meters.
In a 2003 interview with Offbeat magazine, Neville told of going to a Methodist church as a child and having his first encounter with a keyboard.
This May 4, 2008, photo shows Art Neville during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans.
(AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
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“My grandmother used to clean the pulpit, ” he said. “She was in there cleaning it one day and I guess she was babysitting me ’cause I was in there with her. She went to one side and all of a sudden I was on the side where the organ was. Something told me to turn it on. I reached up and pressed a bass note and it scared the daylights out of me!”
That experience helped kick off a lifelong career as a keyboardist and vocalist.
The Neville Brothers — Art, Charles, Cyril and Aaron — started singing as kids but went their separate ways in the 1950s and ’60s. In 1954, Art Neville was in high school when he sang the lead on the Hawketts’ remake of a country song called “Mardi…
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