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Fred Neil


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Fred Neil (March 16, 1936 – July 7, 2001) was an American blues and folk singer and songwriter whose career developed in the 1960s and early 1970s, after which he left the music scene. He wrote the hits “Candy Man” (the B side of Roy Orbison’s “Crying”) and “Everybody’s Talkin’” (Harry Nilsson), as well as the ballad “A Little Bit Of Rain” and the rock standard “The Other Side of This Life”, most famously recorded by Jefferson Airplane.


Born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Neil was one of the singer-songwriters who worked out of New York City’s famous Brill Building. He is often called a pioneer of the folk rock and singer-songwriter musical genres, his most prominent descendants being Tim Buckley, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Joni Mitchell. His most frequently cited disciples are Karen Dalton, Tim Hardin, Dino Valenti, Vince Martin, Peter Stampfel of the avant-folk ensemble The Holy Modal Rounders, John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful), Jerry Jeff Walker, and Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane). Some of Neil’s early compositions were recorded by Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. He was a session guitarist on Bobby Darin’s 1958 hit “Dream Lover,” and a demo singer on a late-’50s Elvis movie soundtrack session. While composing at the Brill Building for other artists, Neil also recorded six mostly rockabilly-pop oriented singles for different labels as a solo artist.


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