Fred Neil / March 16, 1936 - July 7, 2001

Let's hear it for animal rights activists who double as successful musicians! Fred Neil, friend of the dolphins and singer-songwriter, is from Florida but went to NYC in the '50s to write songs at the Brill Building. While there he wrote tunes for Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, cut demos for Elvis and Bobby Darin, while also recording some rockabilly 45s.

In the early 60s he was part of the Greenwich Village folks scene, making records with Vince Martin and his backing groups included people like John Sebastian, Bob Dylan and the Seventh Sons in its ranks. He was an influence on Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Karen Dalton, Tim Hardin and others and he cut his classic "Everybody's Talkin", the tune he is most famous for, in '66 (released on Elektra). After Harry Nillson covered it for the "Midnight Cowboy" movie, Neil blew up. His songs "The Dolphin Song" and "That's The Bag I'm In" were covered by many.

He released a few more albums, played Madison Square Garden with Stephen Stills and then largely dropped out of music, save for a few major international appearances. He has a ton of unreleased music (including an album with John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service!). His main love was the dolphins, and starting in the early '70s he was back in South Florida taking care of the dolphin population, usually only publicly playing music in benefit concerts for The Dolphin Project.

Tagged: Celebrate Icons, dolphins, folk, Fred Neil, guitar

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