Neill Solomon is, without a doubt, one of the finest singer/ songwriters in South Africa today. From his early days fronting the Uptown Rhythm Dogs, through the Passenger years to his solo work, he has consistently produced songs of depth, character, and beauty that will stand the test of time.
Neill formed the Uptown Rhythm Dogs in 1980 along with percussionist Dan Chiorboli and multi-instrumentalist Tony “Lizard” Hunter. After recording two singles the group teamed up with producer Chris Galakis to cut ‘The Occupant’ album. Fueled by the success of ‘Roxy Lady’ and ‘Junk Foods…’ the group secured the opening spot on the Janis Ian tour. Unfortunately on the eve of the tour, Tony Hunter was tragically killed and although Neill and Dan completed the shows with additional players, the Dogs broke up a few weeks later. After a short hiatus, Neill formed Neill Solomon’s Bazaar in 1983 and toured coast to coast for nearly two years.
In 1985 he joined the Loft Theatre Company and performed in numerous plays including the award-winning Kwamanzi. Later that year Neill formed The Passengers along with ace players Chris Bekker, Stuart “Woody” Woods (ex-Bay City Rollers), and George Spencer. This hot line-up recorded three singles before disbanding in 1988. Retaining Stuart Woods, Neill forged ahead with a new line-up and recorded the album ‘Rule of the Swallow’ which produced the No.1 single ‘What’.
Throughout this period Neill continued his interest in theatre and after joining playwright Nicholas Ellenbogen he went on to score the music for the plays The Trophy Hunters and Gone by the Wind. He also appeared in the film The Angel, the Bicycle, and the Chinaman’s Finger which won Neill an award for the music score. In 1992 Neill gathered together some of the country’s finest musicians to record his third album ‘The Gathering of the Beasts’ which featured the chart singles ‘In The Year 2000’ and ‘I Don’t Want To See You’.
— June 2000