Thursday 7 July 2016

Fred Neil: A Legacy

The singer-songwriter Fred Neil died 15 years ago today. Though he never made it commercially as a performer, he will always be remembered for at least two classic songs. One is the number that everyone thinks of as Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin' (just as we always think of Without You as Nilsson's song, rather than Badfinger's). The other is a song that reflects Fred Neil's passion for dolphin conservation, the cause for which he effectively gave up his musical career. I first heard Dolphins on Tim Buckley's Sefronia album, and can't help but think of it as Tim Buckley's Dolphins - it's certainly a song he was born to sing, a perfect vehicle for his extraordinary voice: here he is performing it on Old Grey Whistle Test (complete with Whispering Bob Harris intro). Dolphins was also put to brilliantly effective use in The Sopranos (the greatest TV drama ever made) - and this time it was not Buckley's but Fred Neil's own performance. Sad to reflect that Tim Buckley was dead of a heroin overdose a year after that OGWT performance.

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