Aaron Neville (born January 24, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American soul and R&B singer. He made his debut in 1966 with the hit single "Tell It Like It Is", a Number One hit on the Billboard R&B charts. Neville did not chart again, however, until 1989, when he collaborated with Linda Ronstadt on three consecutive duets: "Don't Know Much", "All My Life", and "When Something Is Wrong with My Baby", of which the first two reached Number One on the Adult Contemporary charts. Neville has released more than 20 singles, including three Number Ones on the Adult Contemporary format, and a fourth on the R&B format.
Aaron Neville has had a career as a solo artist and as one of The Neville Brothers. Of mixed African American and Native American heritage, his music also features Cajun and Creole influences.
Neville first came to public recognition with "Tell It Like It Is" which topped Billboard's R&B chart for five weeks in 1967. It also reached #2 on the Hot 100. A remake of the song was a Top 10 Pop hit for the Rock group Heart featuring Ann and Nancy Wilson in 1981.
In 1989 Neville teamed up with Linda Ronstadt on the album Cry Like A Rainstorm - Howl Like The Wind. Among the duets recorded for the disc were the Grammy-winning hits "Don't Know Much" and "All My Life". "Don't Know Much" was certified Gold while the album was certified Triple Platinum for US sales of more than 3 million.
His other hits have included "Everybody Plays the Fool", his successful 1991 cover of the 1972 Main Ingredient song, that reached #8 on the Hot 100; "Don't Take Away My Heaven", "Hercules" and "Can't Stop My Heart From Loving You (The Rain Song)." Neville's biggest solo successes have been on the Adult Contemporary chart, where "Don't Know Much," "All My Life," and "Everybody Plays the Fool" all reached Number One.
In August 2005 his home in Eastern New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; he evacuated to Memphis, Tennessee before the hurricane hit. He moved to Nashville after the storm, and had yet to return to the city as of early 2008, causing the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to temporarily change its tradition of having the Neville Brothers close the festival. However, the Neville Brothers, including Aaron, returned for the 2008 Jazzfest, which returned to its traditional seven-day format for the first time since Katrina. Neville is in the process of moving back to the New Orleans area, namely the North Shore city of Covington. Neville performed Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927" during NBC's A Concert for Hurricane Relief on September 2, 2005.
Aaron signed to SonyBMG's new Burgundy Records label in late 2005 and recorded an album of songs by Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke and others for Bring It on Home?The Soul Classics, released on September 19, 2006. The album, produced by Stewart Levine, features collaborations between Neville and Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Art Neville, and others. The album's first single was a remake of The Impressions' 1963 classic "It's All Right."
Aaron Neville with his distinctive mole visible above his right eye (1990)
Neville's career has included work for television, movies and sporting events. Neville sang the National Anthem in the movie The Fan starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes. He also sang the anthem at the WWF's SummerSlam 1993 and at WCW Spring Stampede in 1994. Neville sang the theme music to the children's TV series Fisher-Price Little People. He also sang a new version of "Cotton," for Cotton, Inc. which was introduced during the 1992 Summer Olympics. In 1988 he recorded "Mickey Mouse March" for Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films, one of Various Artists. In 2006, Neville sang "The Star-Spangled Banner", alongside singer Aretha Franklin and Dr. John on keyboard at Super Bowl XL in Detroit. In addition, Neville (along with brothers Art and Cyril) did background vocals for the songs "Great Heart", "Bring Back the Magic", "Homemade Music", "My Barracuda", and "Smart Woman (in a Real Short Skirt)" on Jimmy Buffett's Hot Water, released in 1988.
On October 27, 2006, Neville made a guest appearance on an episode of the soap opera The Young and the Restless. He sang "Stand By Me" and "Ain't No Sunshine", from his new album, Bring It on Home?The Soul Classics. In 2008, he released Gold, which includes two CDs of his hits. In September 2009,l he will release album Heat.
Neville's oldest son Ivan is also a musician and released an album, If My Ancestors Could See Me Now, in 1988, which yielded a Top 40 hit with "Not Just Another Girl." Ivan has also performed with the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt, and played bass for Keith Richards on his first solo tour. Ivan then assembled his own band (Ivan Neville's Dumpstphunk)which tours and frequently appears in New Orleans.
Aaron's third son, Jason, is a vocalist and rap artist who has performed with his father and with the Neville Brothers, notably at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Aaron Neville is an inductee of the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday.
In 2009, Aaron Neville, along with the Mt. Zion Mass Choir, released a version of the song ?A Change Is Gonna Come? on the compilation album Oh Happy Day.
Neville is a Roman Catholic with a devotion to St. Jude, to whom he has credited his success and survival. He wears a St. Jude Medal as a left earring.