Art Neville, co-founder of The Meters and The Neville Brothers, died Monday morning at his home in New Orleans. He was 81.
No cause of death was announced by his family, but Nola.com reports that the singer-keyboardist had been in declining health for many years and had announced his retirement from music back in December.
A Navy veteran, Neville was leading a group called Art Neville & the Neville Sounds when producer Allen Toussaint recruited them to be the house band for his recording studio, backing such artists as Dr. John, LaBelle and Robert Palmer. The group became The Meters in 1968 and hit the Top 40 with the instrumentals “Sophisticated Cissy” and “Cissy Strut.”
When that group broke up in 1976, Art joined his brothers Charles (who died last year), Aaron and Cyril as The Neville Brothers. They released nine critically acclaimed studio albums before splitting up in 2012.