i read that Neil got as far as grade 8 with piano lessons. i believe that makes him pretty accomplished. i'm sure he can read music quite well.
i'm with you heidi - can only read chord charts (actually, i can read from middle C to the E above the next C - as long as it's only one or two notes at a time!). And I don't even know about the "circle of fifths" thingy. Though I do understand that a lot of songs resolve on the fifth chord (e.g. progression in C will often end in G). Is it any more than that?
i suspect he just fluffed that thing with Fall At Your Feet.
Strangely I was thinking this about Tim the other day. In an interview for Escapade, he said that he was playing Through The Years and that he was impressed by the chords to the bridge. He said, "not being a musician, I don't know what the chords were but they sounded pretty good." I don't know if he was being disingenuous but it always struck me as an amazing thing to say - I mean, didn't he write it!!?