Billboard asked the Neville Brothers and their colleagues to pick their favorite Neville Brothers song and what makes it special.
“That’s a tough one. They’ve done a lot of great covers: ‘Drift Away,’ ‘Everybody Plays the Fool,’ ‘Fly Like an Eagle,’ ‘Sitting Here in Limbo,’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ ‘A Change Is Gonna Come,’ and a lot of traditional songs—’Hey Pocky Way,’ ‘Amazing Grace,’ ‘They All Asked for You.’ If I had to pick just one of their original songs, I’d probably go for either ‘Voodoo’ or ‘Yellow Moon,’ both from the album ‘Yellow Moon.’ “
Scott Aiges, Jazz & Heritage Foundation director of programs
“I like [their version of] ‘Big Chief,’ which is actually a Professor Longhair song that Earl King wrote. Those were huge influences on the Neville Brothers. That’s something they’ve appropriated as well as anyone has over the years. That’s a staple.”
Bill Taylor, Tipitina’s talent buyer
“I love ‘Yellow Moon.’ Not only is it a curious angle lyrically, it has a hell of a groove that embraces what New Orleans is all about: a melting pot. The economy of the bass playing allowed us to crank it up in the mix. There is a lot of dignity in the Nevilles and their history.”
Daniel Lanois, “Yellow Moon” album producer
” ‘Live on Planet Earth.’ I think that was the [best moment] for the Neville Brothers . . . But I like everything else.”
“There’s more than one of them, but I guess I’d have to say ‘Yellow Moon.’ Not just the song, the whole album. Everything that’s on it. That song is a song that Aaron wrote from a poem that he had written based on his experiences, and that’s a song he wrote when we were on the road and he was thinking about his wife . . . He was kind of excited to write that song. But that’s something that we can all relate to—that point when we’re all thinking about home.”
“I like everything we did, but the first Neville Brothers record with the Wild Tchopitoulas . . . that’s named after the Wild Tchopitoulas Mardi Gras Indians. That’s my favorite, and my favorite song off of that is the one describing who we are called, ‘The Wild Tchopitoulas.’ ”
“I like everything from ‘Mardi Gras Mambo,’ the stuff we did in the ’60s. All these things. I had a song, ‘Wrong Number,’ ‘Waiting at the Station,’ some stuff on Minute Records and others on Instant Records. I liked ‘Tell It Like It Is.'”
Compiled by Kim Ruehl.