Ricky Nelson (born Eric Hilliard Nelson, May 8, 1940 - December 31, 1985) was a highly acclaimed singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He began his career in show business at age 8 when both he and his older brother, David, joined their parents' famous radio (later TV) sitcom, "The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet." In 1957, he made his music debut on his parents' show with a cover of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'," and soon thereafter became a teen idol and a household name. During that same year, he made his chart debut with that song (along with its B-side, "A Teenager's Romance"), and he released his first album, "Ricky," which topped the Billboard 200.
Nelson's long string of hits also included "Be-Bop Baby" (1957), "Believe What You Say" (1958), "Poor Little Fool" (1958), "Travelin' Man" (1961), "Hello Mary Lou" (1961), "Teen Age Idol" (1962), and "For You" (1963). From 1957-1962, he had more Top 40 hits than any other artist at that time except for Elvis Presley and Pat Boone. In 1958, "Poor Little Fool" made pop music history by being the first #1 song on the then-newly created Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1961, on his 21st birthday, he began recording under the name, Rick Nelson. His earlier hits consisted mainly of catchy, uptempo pop and rockabilly songs and some slow ballads, but by the mid 1960s, he began to lean more towards country music. This stylistic change can be heard in such hits as "She Belongs To Me" (1969) and "Garden Party" (1972) (both performed with the Stone Canyon Band), and he became a pioneer of the country-rock genre.
Nelson's many awards and accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2004, he was ranked at #91 by Rolling Stone in its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1996, he was ranked at #49 in TV Guide's list of 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. In addition to guest starring in many TV shows, he also appeared in a number of movies, including "Here Come The Nelsons" (1952), "The Wackiest Ship In the Army" (1960), and "Love And Kisses" (1965). He both sang and co-starred in the Western classic, "Rio Bravo" (1959).
Ricky Nelson's life was tragically cut short in 1985 at age 45 in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas.
The song(s) featured on this page are on:
- Greatest Hits
- The Ultimate Rock and Roll Collection: The 60's (VA)
- Best of Ricky Nelson
- Vol. 2-Best of Ricky Nelson
Available on iTunes
To listen to a song clip, click any song title that has a speaker icon. This will take you to a list of links to CD and/or MP3 product pages from one or more online merchants that have sound samples.
Rick Nelson And The Stone Canyon Band
- Everlovin' 1961
- Fools Rush In 1963
(This song was previously a hit for Brook Benton (1960) and Etta James (1962).)
- String Along 1963
(This song was previously a hit for Fabian (1960).)
- The Very Thought Of You 1964
(This song was previously a hit for Little Willie John (1961).)
- A Wonder Like You 1961
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