Happy Birthday today to Vince Neil.
Vincent Neil Wharton (born February 8, 1961 in Hollywood, California), better known as Vince Neil is the lead singer for American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe.
Neil was born to Odie and Shirley Wharton in 1961 in Southern California. During the 1960s, his family moved around, from Inglewood to Watts, before finally settling in Compton. Growing up in Compton was sometimes tough; Neil once had his face slashed by a gang member. Neil eventually got in trouble at school for fighting and drug use, and he was subsequently expelled. As well as having an interest in music while a teenager, Neil was also interested in surfing, baseball, football, wrestleing, tennis, cricket, and golf.
Neil was discovered while performing with his band, Rockandi (pronounced Rock-Candy) in 1980, and joined Mötley Crüe in 1981. Mötley Crüe released its first album, Too Fast for Love the same year. In 1983, Mötley Crüe released Shout at the Devil, a blockbuster success that established the band as one of the biggest acts of the 1980s.
In 1985, Neil regrouped with Mötley Crüe to record Theatre of Pain. The band subsequently recorded the hugely successful Girls, Girls, Girls (1987). The band then released their highest-selling album, Dr. Feelgood, in 1989 after going through drug rehabilitation. The band's stint in rehab was due to bassist Nikki Sixx's overdose on heroin in December 1987. Sixx was revived by two adrenaline shots to the heart, but the band's management nevertheless cancelled an upcoming European tour and insisted that all members of the group go to drug rehabilitation with the admonition: "If you guys go to Europe, at least one of you will be coming back in a bodybag."
Neil left Mötley Crüe to pursue a solo career in February 1992. According to rumors in the band's autobiography, he was fired because he was more interested in car racing than in the band (he was racing in the Indy Lights open wheel developmental series at the time). In 1992 he released his first solo offering, the single "You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)" featured on the Encino Man soundtrack. Exposed, his first solo album, was released in mid-1993, debuting at #13 on the Billboard charts. The album featured Steve Stevens (formerly Billy Idol's guitarist and Atomic Playboys founder), Dave Marshall, Robbie Crane, and Vik Foxx. It sold only about 300,000 copies in the US, just about as many as Mötley Crüe's 1994 self-titled album with singer John Corabi (previously of The Scream). All previous Mötley Crüe albums had sold at least one million copies.
In 1995, Neil released Carved In Stone, an industrial-oriented album produced by the Dust Brothers. It sold less than 100,000 copies in the US, and Neil's contract with Warner Bros. Records eventually came to an end. Some versions of the album feature "Skylar's Song," a tribute to his daughter.
By 1997, both Neil's solo career and Mötley Crüe's fortunes were declining and he accepted their invitation to rejoin the band. They released the album Generation Swine which debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts. It wasn't long before tension erupted again, this time prompting Tommy Lee to leave the band. They replaced him with Randy Castillo, but things came to a halt when Castillo died from cancer in 2002.
In 2002, Neil was one of the cast members on the first season of The Surreal Life.
In 2003, Vince Neil was featured (as a solo act) in the "Rock Never Stops Tour" along with other '80s hard rock bands.
In 2004, Neil appeared again on TV for the special Remaking Vince Neil, which showed him trying to recharge his solo career. He also recorded the single "Promise Me" produced by the acclaimed record producer Desmond Child which was never released commercially, but was rumored to be on his forthcoming solo album. However, it turned out to be Mötley Crüe that got the career boost as Neil and Tommy Lee put aside their differences and toured in support of the compilation album Red, White and Crüe which was supported by an extensive world-wide tour dubbed Carnival of Sins, The tour featured near-naked female acrobats, fire-breathers and a midget as part of the overall 'circus' atmosphere the band created.
Vince Neil is currently touring with his solo band, now consisting of Slaughter members Jeff Blando and Dana Strum, as well as drummer Zoltan Chaney.
Mötley Crüe will continue to tour, with several dates over the summer, and Neil will continue to tour with his solo band during his off time from Mötley Crüe. He is also currently working on a new studio album with Dana Strum, with whom he performed at glam metal festival Rocklahoma.
Vince Neil was recently accused of lip-synching during a performance by gossip-site/TV show TMZ. His voice can be heard when he tries to get the crowd to sing along on the video tape, yet he is noticeably not singing.
On January 19, 2008, Neil played a free concert on the streets of downtown West Palm Beach, Florida to celebrate the grand opening of his club "Dr Feelgoods".
Neil married his first wife, Beth Lynn, in 1981; they divorced in 1985. In April 1988, Neil married Sharise Ruddell, a mudwrestler. Ruddell and Neil divorced in 1993.
On August 15, 1995, Neil and Ruddell's daughter, Skylar Neil, died of cancer. He founded the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund in her honor. Since that time, Neil and the foundation have raised awareness and funding for various children’s illnesses. The Skylar Neil Memorial Foundation has donated over one million dollars to The T.J. Martell Foundation, and it sponsors an annual golf tournament to raise money for children with cancer.
In May 2000, Neil married Playboy Playmate Heidi Mark. They divorced in August 2001.
Neil married Lia Gerardini in January 2005. The ceremony was officiated by ordained minister and fellow cast member from The Surreal Life, MC Hammer.