Ricky Nelson

Actor + Musician + Singer
Born May 8, 1940

Eric Hilliard Nelson, better known as Ricky Nelson or Rick Nelson, was an American singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and actor. He placed 53 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1957 and 1973 including "Poor Little Fool", which holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on Billboard magazine's then newly created Hot 100 chart. He recorded nineteen additional top-ten hits, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on January 21, 1987.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Ricky Nelson.


1940 Birth Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson was born on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey. … Read More
The Nelsons bought a two-story colonial house in Tenafly, New Jersey, and, six months after the purchase, moved with son David to Hollywood, where Ozzie and Harriet were slated to appear in the 1941–42 season of Red Skelton's The Raleigh Cigarette Hour; Ricky remained in Tenafly in the care of his paternal grandmother.
1942 2 Years Old Ricky joined his parents and brother in Los Angeles in 1942. … Read More
1944 4 Years Old The show debuted on Sunday, October 8, 1944, to favorable reviews. … Read More
1949 9 Years Old The Nelson boys were first played in the radio series by professional child actors until twelve-year-old Dave and eight-year-old Ricky joined the show on February 20, 1949, in the episode "Invitation to Dinner."


1952 12 Years Old In 1952, the Nelsons tested the waters for a television series with the theatrically released film Here Come the Nelsons. The film was a hit, and Ozzie was convinced the family could make the transition from radio's airwaves to television's small screen. On October 3, 1952, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet made its television debut and was broadcast in first run until September 3, 1966, to become one of the longest-running sitcoms in television history.
1954 14 Years Old Nelson attended Gardner Street Public School, Bancroft Junior High, and, between 1954 and 1958, Hollywood High School, from which he graduated with a B average. … Read More
1956 16 Years Old …  He was strongly influenced by the music of Carl Perkins and once said he tried to emulate the sound and the tone of the guitar break in Perkins's March 1956 Top Ten hit "Blue Suede Shoes." … Read More
…  In 1957, he recorded his first single, debuted as a singer on the television version of the sitcom, and released the #1 album entitled Ricky. … Read More
During 1958 and 1959, Nelson placed twelve hits on the charts in comparison with Presley's eleven.


1960 20 Years Old By 1960, the Ricky Nelson International Fan Club had 9,000 chapters around the world. … Read More
1961 21 Years Old 1 More Event
On May 8, 1961 (his 21st birthday), he officially modified his recording name from "Ricky Nelson" to "Rick Nelson". … Read More
1963 23 Years Old 1 More Event
Nelson and Sharon Kristin Harmon were married on April 20, 1963, and divorced in December 1982. … Read More
1964 24 Years Old After some early successes with the label, most notably 1964's "For You" (#6), Nelson's chart career came to a dramatic halt in the wake of Beatlemania and The British Invasion. … Read More


1970 30 Years Old Yet Nelson himself did not reach the Top 40 again until 1970, when he recorded Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me" with the Stone Canyon Band, featuring Randy Meisner, who in 1971 became a founding member of the Eagles, and former Buckaroo steel guitarist Tom Brumley.
1972 32 Years Old In 1972, Nelson reached the Top 40 one last time with "Garden Party", a song he wrote in disgust after a Richard Nader Oldies Concert at Madison Square Garden where the audience booed him, because, he felt, he was playing new songs instead of just his old hits. … Read More
1975 35 Years Old By 1975, following the birth of their last child, the marriage had deteriorated and a very public, controversial divorce involving both families was covered in the press for several years. In October 1977, Kris filed for divorce and asked for alimony, custody of their four children, and a portion of community property. … Read More


1980 40 Years Old In 1980, Nelson met Helen Blair, a part-time model and exotic animal trainer, in Las Vegas.
1982 42 Years Old 1 More Event
After years of legal proceedings, they were divorced in December 1982. … Read More
In 1985, Nelson began a "Comeback tour" with Fats Domino. … Read More
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