The Meters

The Meters were an American funk band from New Orleans that released three albums on Josie Records in 1969 and 1970, followed by another five albums on Warner/Reprise between 1972 and 1977.

They evolved from the Neville Sounds, formed in 1960 by keyboardist Art Neville and his two brothers, Cyril and Aaron. When the latter pair left, the remaining four-piece worked as an R&B backing band before adopting the Meters moniker. In 1976, all six regrouped for an eponymous album by The Wild Tchoupitoulas.

Members: Arthur Neville (keyboards), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), George Porter, Jr. (bass guitar), Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (drums), Cyril Neville (percussion, 1975-79)

Arthur Neville (1937–2019) entered the scene at age 17, fronting the New Orleans R&B nine-piece The Hawkettes. In 1955, they issued the single “Mardi Gras Mambo” (b/w “Your Time’s Up”) on Chess. During the late ’50s, he cut three solo singles on Specialty.

In 1960, Art formed the Neville Sounds with his younger brothers Aaron (b. 1941) and Cyril (b. 1948). The two soon departed for Soul Machine while Aaron pursued a solo career, cutting seven Minit singles between 1960 and 1962 before charting with “Tell It Like It Is” b/w “Why Worry” (R&B #1, Pop #2) on Par Lo in 1967. Meanwhile, Art cut three singles apiece on Instant Records and Cinderella Records between 1961 and 1965.

By 1965, Art’s band coalesced around three teenage musicians: guitarist Leo Nocentelli (b. 1946), bassist George Porter, Jr. (b. 1947), and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (b. 1948). With this lineup, the Neville Sounds served as the house band at Sansu studios and played residencies as local haunts the Ivanhoe and the Nite Cap.

In 1968, Art cut the Toussaint-produced two-parter “Bo Diddley,” issued on Sansa. With its staggering syncopation and call-and-response chanting, it blueprinted the band’s trademark bayou-funk style. By the time of his second Sansu release, “Heartaches” (b/w “I’m Gonna Put Some Hurt On You”), his band renamed itself The Meters and signed to Josie, a division of the New York R&B label Jubilee.


  • The Meters (1969)
  • Look-Ka Py Py (1970)
  • Struttin’ (1970)
  • Cabbage Alley (1972)
  • Rejuvenation (1974)
  • Fire on the Bayou (1975)
  • Trick Bag (1976)
  • New Directions (1977)
  • Kickback (2001, recorded 1975–76)


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