Fred Neil Chronology

March 16, 1936
- Fred was born in Cleveland, Ohio, March 16th 1936... raised in St. Petersburg (Florida).

- Travels with his father, who works for the jukebox industry, through the South-East.
- His father gives him his first guitar

- Sings in a gospel group
- Leaves home

- October 28: The label Look (Y-1002) releases his first single: 'You Ain't Treatin' Me Right' / 'Don't Put The Blame On Me'

- March: Arrives in New York, thanks to a publisher's office which make arrangements for Fred to come over from St. Petersburg, Florida."

- ABC-Paramount (9935) launches his second single, credited to Freddie Neil: 'Heartbreak Bound' / 'Trav'lin' Man’

- The third single is released by Epic (5-9934): 'Love's Funny' / 'Secret Secret'

- September 10: Buddy Holly records ‘Come Back Baby’, song written by Norman Petty and Fred Neil, not released then but as single in may of 1964.

- He's signed as a staff writer to Southern Music (at the Brill Building) by its vice-president Jack Newman. He's paid $40 a week and is teamed up sometimes with Jimmy Krondes.

- Works as session guitar player for Bobby Darin ("Dream Lover" demo) and Paul Anka ("Diana").

- Brunswick (9-55117) launches another single, credited to "Freddie Neil and Friends": 'Take Me Back Again' / 'Listen Kitten'

- Fred appears on the Alan Freed TV show in New York, performing his recently released song "Listen Kitten".

- Records a demo-song with Mort Shuman for an Elvis Presley movie, which the King doesn't use in the end.

- Another deal in the Brill Building with Beberly Ross. His only composed song is going to be 'Candy Man', b-side of the single 'Crying' of Roy Orbison (released by Monument, late 1961).

- Epic (5-9403) release his fifth single: 'Slippin' Around' / 'You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry', both songs arranged and conducted by Chuck Sagle.

- Epic (5-9435) launches another single: ‘Four Chaplains’ / ‘A Rainbow and A Rose’, songs composed respectively by Neil and Wally Gold, and Neil and Barry Mann, in the Brill Building.

- Introduced by Len Chandler, start to perform solo at Café Wha?, Night Owl and Bitter End, clubs of Greenwich Village, New York City, and meets Dino Valente, Karen Dalton and Tim Hardin, who sometimes play with him.

- February: During his gigs in Wha?, he's accompanied by Karen Dalton and Bob Dylan, who plays harmonica and sometimes sings.

- July: Plays at the Potpourri in Montreal.

- Neil's presented by Bob Gibson in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. During this time Neil plays live with Gibson and Hamilton Camp. They even recorded a radio session together in Hollywood.

- Performing through the Greenwich Village clubs, acquires a following among some still amateurs musicians: John Sebastian (who later will form Lovin' Spoonful), Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane), Richie Havens, David Crosby (The Byrds), Terry Callier, Stephen Stills (Buffalo Springfield), Felix Pappalardi (Cream), Josh White, Jr., Denny Doherty (Mamas & The Papas) ...

- Plays in Coral Gables, with Ned Carter on lead acoustic guitar.

- Plays with Vince Martin at The Bavarian Inn, a little club in Coral Gables (Florida)

- December 5: Plays The Gates Of Horn (Chicago), opening for Lenny Bruce in a gig in which Bruce is arrested for obscenity.

- Sings on three songs of the rare album by Joe Tinker Lewis: "Moaning and Groaning". His friend and later arranger of "Everybody's Talkin'" Nilsson version, George Tipton, also was involved in the album, as far as both, Joe Lewis and Tipton, appear during the same period credited in some jazz and pop New York recordings sessions by Sun Ra, among some other weird acts.

- FM label releases 'Hootenanny Live At The Bitter End' (FS 309), in which Fred performs three songs: 'Linin' Track', 'The Sky Is Fallin' and 'That's The Bag I'm In'. The others folkies who appear on this album are Len Chandler, Jo Maples and Bob Carey.

- Plays at the Vangard in Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), with Lisa Kindred and Al Mamlet.

-Plays extensively in Coconut Grove, where a fresh coffehouse-folk scene would attract new performers like Vince Martin, David and Chip Crosby, Mama Cass Elliot, Lisa Kindred, Buzzy Linhart, Bobby Ingram, Ned Carter and Al Mamlet, among others.

- Hootenanny album is reissued as 'World Of Folk Music' (FM FS-319). ), with one more song ‘Raindrops Falling’ – really ‘Yonder Comes The Blues’ which will be included on his album ‘Bleecker & McDougal’.

- April: Plays the Café au Go Go in a gig supporting Lenny Bruce. The bill includes Mort Sahl, Richie Havens and Tim Hardin. The songs performed by Fred are "Weary Blues", "Other Side Of This Life", "Roll On Rosie", "That’s The Bag I’m In", "The Water Is Wide" and "A Little Bit Of Rain".

- Plays at the 'Cafe au Go Go' on Bleeker Street at the corner of Thompson adjacent to the Bleeker Street Cinema.

- Plays with Vince Martin as a duo in the Playhouse Café (Macdougal Street) and in the Gaslight.

- Martin introduces him to John Sebastian, Elektra studio musician.

- Elektra signs him to a recording contract, and releases ‘Tear Down The Walls / I Know You Rider’ (EK-45008), as single and 'Tear Down The Walls' (EKL-724 mono; EKS-7248 stereo), first and only album by Martin & Neil. It's produced by Paul Rothchild, with Felix Pappalardi on guitarron and John Sebastian on harmonica.

- The second album of the duo Martin & Neil was going to be recorded live at The Bitter End, with Sebastian and Pappalardi, but after a pair of songs the concert finishes and nothing comes out of it.

- May: Elektra (EKL-293 mono; EKS-7293 stereo) releases his first solo album, 'Bleecker & Macdougal', produced by Paul Rothchild and backed by Pete Childs on guitar and dobro, Felix Pappalardi and ‘Chip’ Douglas Hatelid on bass, and John Sebastian on harmonica.

-November 24-27: Plays the Café au Go Go on a bill with Big Joe Williams, The Blues Project, The Seventh Sons, Al Kooper, David Blue, John Hammond and John Lee Hooker.

- Moves to Coconut Grove (Florida).

- He's interviewed for the 'Hit Parader' magazine.

- From Coconut Grove, returns sometimes to New York area to play with various bands, in 'The Night Owl' and later at the 'Cafe au Go Go', normally Buzzy Linhart on vibes, Steve DeNaut on bass and Serge Katzan on drums and tabla (musicians that formed The Seventh Sons and The Buzzy Linhart Trio). With them, he plays the Amusement Park (New Jersey). In some gigs he’s also backed by The Lovin’ Spoonful and The Strangers.
The jam sessions taped at the loft of Serge Katzan included musicians like Donovan, Jerry Garcia, David Crosby, David Blue, Mississippi John Hurt, Shawn Philips and Gram Parsons.

- Often visits the Miami Seaquarium, where he's fascinated by the dolphin Kathy (that's Flipper in the eponymous tv serie).

- June 3-18: Plays two week engagement in Café au Go Go with a band that includes Harvey Brooks, Al Kooper, John Sebastian, Felix Pappalardi and friends like Dino Valenti and Karen Dalton. Other acts on the bill are Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Albert King and B.B. King.

- Because of his manager's contacts, Herb Cohen, Fred signs with Capitol Records.

- Late '66: Records his second solo album (first for Capitol). Nik Venet (Chet Baker, Beach Boys, Lou Rawls) produces it, with John T. Forsha (Modern Folk Quartet), Peter Childs and Cyrus Faryar on guitars, James E. Bond, Jr. (Lightnin’ Hopkins, Chet Baker) on stand-up bass, Billy Mundi (Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley) on drums, Al Wilson (Canned Heat) on harmonica, and Rusty Faryar on cymbals.

- Capitol (5786) releases the single 'The Dolphins' / 'Ba-De-Da', taken from his next eponymous album.

- February: Capitol releases 'Fred Neil'.

- Capitol releases a second single from the last LP: 'The Dolphins' / 'I've Got A Secret'

- August: Plays at the Berkeley Community Theater in a bill that includes Dave Van Ronk and Mimi Farina.

- October 6-15: Records a new album in Studio B, Capitol Records, Hollywood, with Jimmy Bond, Jr on stand-up bass, and Cyrus Faryar, Pete Childs, Bruce Langhorne (Bob Dylan) and Eric Glen Hord (David Crosby) on acoustic guitars, produced by Nik Venet. Some songs (notably ‘Merry Go Round’ with verses of Langston Hughes, and ‘Fools Are A Long Train Coming’, credited to Herb Metoyer) are heavily influenced by the civil rights movement, which Nik Venet supports.

- December: Capitol releases 'Sessions'.

- Capitol (2091) launches the only single from 'Sessions': 'Felicity' / 'Please Send Me Somebody To Love'.

- Elektra (EKSN 45036) releases the single ‘Candy Man’/’The Water Is Wide’, from the ‘Bleecker & McDougal’ album.

- Venet projects an album to be recorded during a tour through the States, using local musicians, and including jams with all the musicians friends Fred had. Venet records a gig with John Sebastian in the Tin Angel, The Troubadour (Los Angeles), The Hungry (San Francisco).

- Capitol (2256) releases the single 'Everybody's Talkin' / 'That's The Bag I'm In'.

- Plays with Vince Martin at the Gaslight Coffeehouse in Coconut Grove.

- Early '69: Jams with John Stewart, Johnny Cash, Vince Martin and Kris Kristofferson in Nashville during the sessions for 'California Bloodlines' of Stewart, which Venet produces with Howard Solomon management. None of the recordings are released.

- May 5: Plays The Café au Go Go with a band formed by John Sebastian (guitar), Felix Pappalardi (bass and guitarron), Harvey Brooks (2nd bass) and Al Kooper (bass, piano and guitar).

- The projected jam/live LP fails.

- Moves provisionally to Woodstock (New York).

- October: After the success of Harry Nilsson's cover of 'Everybody' Talkin' in 'Midnight Cowboy',
the movie directed by John Schlesinger and starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, Capitol relaunches the original version of the song in a single with 'Ba-De-Da' in the b-side (Capitol 2604), and reissues his eponymous LP as 'Everybody's Talkin' (Capitol SM-294).

- October 12: Plays the Fillmore East in a concert presented as ‘Fred Neil & Friends’.

- 'Bleecker & Macdougal' is reissued as 'A Little Bit Of Rain' (Elektra EKS74073).

- Records some songs ("Felicity", "You Don’t Miss Your Water", "Prettiest Train" and "Sweet Mama") which would appear on the next album. The sessions are produced by Nik Venet and engineered by John Wilson. Back-up band: Dino Valente (12-string), Bruce Langhorne and Stephen Stills (guitar), Jimmy Bond and Harvey Brooks (bass), Less McCann (piano) and Billy Mundi (drums).

- With Ric O'Barry, a marine biologist, founds 'The Dolphin Research Project', an organisation dedicated (according to Fred himself) "to stopping the capture, trafficking and exploitation of dolphins worldwide".

- February: Finishes his engagement with Capitol that releases his last official album until today: 'The Other Side Of This Life' (SM 657). It contains a side recorded live at the Elephant in Woodstock, part of the frustrated live project of 1968, produced by Howard Solomon (his former manager, before of Lenny Bruce and one time owner of Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village), with Monte Dunn playing acoustic guitar. The flip side brings rarities and some surfaced duets with Les McCann, Vince Martin, Stephen Stills and Gram Parsons, and is produced by Nik Venet.

- The live side of "Other Side Of This Life" was produced by Howard L. Solomon (assisted by Bob Gibson in the mix) for Capitol at the behest of Micky Kapp to satisfy Fred’s suspension requirement and release him from three years remainder of his contract. The purpose, according to Solomon, was to get him the funds required to pay his debts. It was done before an audience of stellar music industry (Albert Grossman, The Band, Mike Lang and dozens of players on 24-track (two Ampex remote A & B decks truck mounted with video feed by Hanley Sound).

- Plays at a concert of Stephen Stills in the Madison Square Garden, New York.

- Plays the Purple Elephant (Woodstock) with Howard L. Solomon as executive producer. The list of the songs is: "Ya Don’t Miss Your Water", "Cell Block # 9", "Weary Blues", "That’s The Bag I’m In", "Roll On Rosie", "Dolphins", "Come Back Baby", "Second Hand Information", "Blues", "Evil Woman", "Black Woman", "Worried Blues", "This World", "How Long", "It Ain’t Neccesaryly So", Mercy" and "Buddy Can You Spare A Dime".

- Records an unreleased album in Bayshore Studios (Miami) for Just Sunshine (label owned by his new manager, Mike Lang) with Harvey Brooks (Miles Davis, Bob Dylan) on bass and Pete Childs on guitar.

- July 11: Plays The Montreux Jazz Festival, in the Montreux Casino, with John Sebastian on harmonica, Pete Childs on guitar, and Harvey Brooks on bass. Among the songs played, are: 'Nashville Cats' and 'Stories We Could Tell' (both from John Sebastian) and 'December Dream'.

- Reappears live at the Coconut Grove Playhouse during two benefit concerts for the Dolphin Project, backed by John Sebastian, Pete Childs and Buzzy Linhart.

- November 20: Plays in the Whale Day Celebration in the Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento (California), joining Joni Mitchell for performing ‘The Dolphins’, both backed by Jaco Pastorius (bass) and Bobby Hall (percussion).

- April: Plays live in Japan in a gig of the Rolling Coconut Revue, along Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and John Sebastian, among others, called "Japan Celebrates The Whale And Dolphin".

- October-December: Records for CBS at The Bayshore Studios a few unreleased covers produced by Ric O’ Barry and Fred himself and enginneered by Bill Zsymsik and Buddy Thornton: "Bottom Dollar" (Danny Finley), "December Dream" (John Braheny), "Walk On Water" (Billy Roberts), "Jasmine Town" (Bobby Ingram), "She’s Got", "Lady Lady", "I Must Be In Good Place Now", "Everyday" and the instrumental "Bicycle Path".

- July: Re-records in New Jersey with the band Stuff – that include Cornell Dupree and Richard Tee, among others- the same material recorded at Bayshore last year. Fred and Ric are the producers again.

- Plays at Howard Solomon's café, in Coconut Grove, with Buzzy Linhart.

- The label See For Miles (77) releases ‘The Very Best Of Fred Neil’, a record that includes the eponymous album and four songs of ‘Sessions’.

- Ben Vaughn, cult singer-songwriter of the eighties proposes him to record an album for Nonesuch Explorer series, but Fred declines the invitation, advising Vaughn to call Karen Dalton.

- July: 'Bucketfull Of Brains' Magazine (#43) publishes an article on Fred Neil.

- April 26: 'Goldmine' Magazine (#411) publishes an article on Fred Neil, written by Simon Wordsworth, titled ‘The Last Great Undiscovered Greenwich Village Folk Legend’.

- The British label Rev-Ola (CREV 021) reissues, for the first time in CD format, ‘Everybody's Talkin'.

- The Japanese label East West reissues, for the first time in CD format, ‘Bleecker And MacDougal’ (AMCY-2693) and ‘Tear Down The Walls’ (AMCY-2918).

- The German label Buffalo Bop (CD 55088) releases the compilation ‘Hot Rockin’, including the song ‘You Ain’t Treat Me Right’.

- February: 'The Many Sides Of Fred Neil', a double CD set, is released by Collector’s Choice (CCM-07-2), compiling the three entire Capitol LPs, the single with the Nashville Street Singers, and four outtakes (‘Trouble In Mind’, December’s Dream’, ‘Ride Stormy Weather’ – with Vince Martin- and ‘How Long Blues/Drown In Tears’ – from ‘Sessions’), and two different versions of ‘Sweet Mama’ and ‘The Other Side Of This Life’ (both from ‘Bleecker & MacDougal).

- February: Mojo Magazine publishes an article, written by Ben Edmonds and titled ‘I Don’t Hear A Word They’re Saying...’.

- April: A letter requesting to the Mojo article, written by Fred, is published in that magazine, explaining the purposes of the Dolphin Project. No comments about the music.

- August: The Dolphin Project releases a video directed by Diana Thater, narrated by Richard O’Barry and with music by Fred Neil, featuring the songs "The Other Side Of This Life", "The Water Is Wide", "The Dolphins", and an excerpt from "I’ve Got A Secret (Didn’t We Shake Up Sugaree)".

- December: Published in the USA (Miller Freeman Books) "Urban Spacemen And Wayfaring Strangers: Overlooked Innovators And Eccentric Visionaries Of 60’s Rock", written by Richie Unterberger, including an entire chapter dedicated to the life and music of Fred Neil.

- March: A new book, "American Troubadours: Groundbreaking Singer Songwriters Of The Sixties", is released in the UK (Backbeat), written by Mark Brend, and including a chapter for Neil and various unseen photos.

- June 13: A dedicated website is created at

- July 7: Dies in Monroe County, Key West (Florida).
He was 65 years old and died of natural causes.

"July 8: "Everybody's Talkin'", a forum about Fred is created on . In it, Howard Solomon, Ric O' Barry, Bobby
Ingram, Steve DeNaut and other partners, friends and fans of Fred post
messages every day and try to keep his spirit alive."

Chronology © by Toni Ruiz