Ricky Nelson
Actor, musician, Singer
Ricky Nelson
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.
Biography
Ricky Nelson's personal information overview.
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Photo Albums
Popular photos of Ricky Nelson
News
News abour Ricky Nelson from around the web
Springfield's Jaxx rock club sues Gunnar Nelson, alleging slander - Washington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
The Nelson twins — sons of Ricky Nelson, grandsons of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson — had played Jaxx many times, and Nedry had become friends with them. They were lined up again to play in September 2008, for a fee of $7500, and here's where a crucial
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Ricky Nelson Remembered In Song And Stories By His Twin Sons Matthew And ... - K2 Radio
Google News - over 5 years
RICKY NELSON REMEMBERED is a multi media musical journey of the life and music of Teen Idol Rick Nelson. Featuring hit songs (“Hello Mary Lou”, “Travelin' Man”, “Garden Party”, etc.) performed by Ricky's twin sons Matthew & Gunnar Nelson
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Are They Ready For Some Football? - Umpqua Post
Google News - over 5 years
The young athletes included from left front; Tucker Anderson, Ricky Nelson, Marc Chaney, Tristin Handsaker, Donovan Swenson, Clayton Lent, Quintin Dascher, Joseph Paramo, Dovic Patin and Rad Osburn. Back row: Christopher Chavtur, Joey Herr,
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Musical odyssey by three generations - Sunday Times.lk
Google News - over 5 years
They had a repertoire that spanned Elvis, Cliff Richard, Ricky Nelson and other greats of the time. But his career in advertising saw Ishan making an early exit from the music scene. He never forgot his first love though. Thirty years later in 2000,
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Sons pay tribute to father - Glens Falls Post-Star
Google News - over 5 years
Matthew and Gunnar Nelson will perform two live shows of 'Ricky Nelson Remembered,' a multimedia tribute to their father, on Saturday at the Charles R. Wood Theater. For Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, identical twin sons of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
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Ricky Nelson's sons keep flame alive - Albany Times Union
Google News - over 5 years
Gunnar Nelson, left, and Matthew Nelson present their Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. Photo courtesy of The Rick Nelson Company () Tribute bands are the rage these days, but this one has a unique and undeniable tie-in; ''Ricky Nelson Remembered'' is
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CALENDAR; Events on Long Island
NYTimes - over 5 years
A guide to cultural and recreational events on Long Island. Items for the calendar should be sent at least three weeks in advance to lical@nytimes.com . Comedy BAY SHORE Boulton Center for the Performing Arts Tom Papa. Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. $40. Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, 37 West Main Street. (631) 969-1101; boultoncenter.org . SAG HARBOR
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Nelsons rock the house - Watertown Daily Times
Google News - over 5 years
Twin brothers Matthew, left, and Gunnar Nelson rev up the crowd during their musical performance of Ricky Nelson Remembered. Posted: Friday, August 12, 2011 1:15 pm | Updated: 1:20 pm, Fri Aug 12, 2011. by Teresa Stowell After a summer of extreme hot
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Heat likely to blame for death of roofer - FOX 8 News WVUE-TV
Google News - over 5 years
The Houma Fire Department says 48 year-old Ricky Nelson was working on a roof Wednesday when he collapsed and died. His coworkers watched him wilt in the unforgiving heat. "Next thing I know he was passing out and I was shaking him, shaking him,
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CALENDAR; Long Island
NYTimes - over 5 years
A guide to cultural and recreational events on Long Island. Items for the calendar should be sent at least three weeks in advance to lical@nytimes.com. Film HUNTINGTON Cinema Arts Center ''First Look for the First Suburb,'' a preview screening of the television documentary ''Suburban America: Problems and Promise,'' by Ron Rudaitis. Aug. 14, noon
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Society Confidential: Marshall Crenshaw recaps concert online; eating pretty ... - The Detroit News
Google News - over 5 years
Past shows are archived on the website, including July 23's tribute to the Mosrite guitar, featuring songs by Ricky Nelson , The Ventures and others using the space age-sounding instrument. We stopped in at Crave Lounge in Dearborn last week for a
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Save the Music, Music, Music! - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
It then made the lists again with Vaughn Monroe (1944), Little Willie John (1961); and Ricky Nelson (1964). In between all that, it turned up in the background of "Casablanca" and on the records of every major recording artist in the business
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Sanford to work in Ghana – without Bill Gates - Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Google News - over 5 years
11:00 pm Tickets go on sale at 10 am Friday for "Ricky Nelson Remembered.”- 1:36 pm SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A California prosecutor says US- 1:27 pm Ghana is a tropical nation on the Atlantic coast of west Africa. Independence: 1957, from Great
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ricky Nelson
    FORTIES
  • 1985
    Age 44
    On December 26, 1985, Nelson and the band left for a three-stop tour of the Southern United States.
    More Details Hide Details Following shows in Orlando, Florida, and Guntersville, Alabama, Nelson and band members took off from Guntersville for a New Year's Eve extravaganza in Dallas, Texas. The plane crash-landed northeast of Dallas in De Kalb, Texas, less than two miles from a landing strip, at approximately 5:14 pm. CST on December 31, 1985, hitting trees as it came to earth. Seven of the nine occupants were killed: Nelson and his companion, Helen Blair; bass guitarist Patrick Woodward, drummer Rick Intveld, keyboardist Andy Chapin, guitarist Bobby Neal, and road manager/soundman Donald Clark Russell. Pilots Ken Ferguson and Brad Rank escaped via cockpit windows, though Ferguson was severely burned. Nelson's remains were misdirected in transit from Texas to California, delaying the funeral for several days. On January 6, 1986, 250 mourners entered the Church of the Hills for funeral services while 700 fans gathered outside. Attendees included 'Colonel' Tom Parker, Connie Stevens, Angie Dickinson, and dozens of actors, writers, and musicians. Nelson was privately buried days later in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles. Kris Nelson threatened to sue the Nelson clan for her former husband's life insurance money and tried to wrest control of his estate from David Nelson, its administrator. Her bid was rejected by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Nelson bequeathed his entire estate to his children and did not provide for Kris Nelson.
    Nelson dreaded flying but refused to travel by bus. In May 1985, he decided he needed a private plane and leased a luxurious, fourteen-seat, 1944 Douglas DC-3 that had once belonged to the DuPont family and later to Jerry Lee Lewis.
    More Details Hide Details The plane had been plagued by a history of mechanical problems. In one incident, the band was forced to push the plane off the runway after an engine blew, and in another incident, a malfunctioning magneto prevented Nelson from participating in the first Farm Aid concert in Champaign, Illinois.
    In 1985, Nelson began a "Comeback tour" with Fats Domino.
    More Details Hide Details He put the "y" back on his name and became "Ricky" again. He sang the songs for which he was famous and released a greatest hits album, Ricky Nelson: All My Best. His comeback was cut short when, while on the tour circuit, his plane crashed on New Year's Eve.
  • 1982
    Age 41
    Within months of their meeting, she became his road companion, and in 1982 she moved in with him.
    More Details Hide Details She was the only woman he dated after his divorce. Blair acted as personal assistant to Nelson, organizing his day and acting as a liaison for his fan club, but Nelson's mother, brother, business manager, and manager disapproved of her presence in his life. He contemplated marrying her but eventually declined. Blair died with Nelson in the airplane fire. Her name was never mentioned at Nelson's funeral. Blair's parents wanted their daughter buried next to Nelson at Forest Lawn Cemetery, but Harriet Nelson dismissed the idea. The Blairs refused to bury Helen's remains and filed a $2 million wrongful death suit against Nelson's estate. They received a small settlement. Nelson did not provide for Blair in his will. Comeback tour
    After years of legal proceedings, they were divorced in December 1982.
    More Details Hide Details The divorce was financially devastating for Nelson, with attorneys and accountants taking over $1 million. Years of legal wrangling followed.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1980
    Age 39
    In 1980, Nelson met Helen Blair, a part-time model and exotic animal trainer, in Las Vegas.
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  • 1975
    Age 34
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The couple temporarily resolved their differences, but Kris retained her attorney to pursue a permanent break. Kris wanted Rick to give up music, spend more time at home, and focus on acting, but the family enjoyed a recklessly expensive lifestyle, and Kris's extravagant spending left Rick no choice but to tour relentlessly. The impasse over Rick's career created unpleasantness at home. Kris became an alcoholic and left the children in the care of household help.
  • 1972
    Age 31
    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.
    More Details Hide Details When he performed The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women", he was booed off the stage. He was watching the rest of the performance on a TV monitor backstage and Richard Nader finally convinced Nelson to return to the stage and play his "oldies". He returned to the stage and played his "oldies" and the audience responded with applause, according to Deborah Nader, President of Richard Nader Entertainment. He wanted to record an album featuring original material, but the single was released before the album because Nelson had not completed the entire Garden Party album yet. "Garden Party" reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and was certified as a gold single. The second single released from the album was "Palace Guard" which peaked at #65. Nelson was with MCA at the time, and his comeback was short-lived. Nelson's band soon resigned, and MCA wanted Nelson to have a producer on his next album. His band moved to Aspen and changed their name to "Canyon". Nelson soon put together a new Stone Canyon Band and began to tour for the Garden Party album. Nelson still played nightclubs and bars, but he soon advanced to higher-paying venues because of the success of Garden Party. In 1974 MCA was at odds as to what to do with the former teen idol. Albums like Windfall failed to have an impact.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1970
    Age 29
    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.
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  • 1964
    Age 23
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In the mid 1960s, Nelson began to move towards country music, becoming a pioneer in the country-rock genre. He was one of the early influences of the so-called "California Sound" (which would include singers like Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt and bands like the Eagles).
  • 1963
    Age 22
    In 1963, Nelson signed a 20-year contract with Decca Records.
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    Nelson and Sharon Kristin Harmon were married on April 20, 1963, and divorced in December 1982.
    More Details Hide Details They had four children: Tracy Kristine, twin sons Gunnar Eric and Matthew Gray, and Sam Hilliard.
  • 1961
    Age 20
    At Christmas 1961, Nelson began dating Sharon Kristin "Kris" Harmon (born June 25, 1945), the daughter of football legend Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox (née Elsie Kornbrath) and the older sister of Kelly and Mark Harmon. The Nelsons and the Harmons had long been friends, and a union between their children held great appeal. Rick and Kris had much in common: quiet dispositions, Hollywood upbringings, and high-powered, domineering fathers. They married on April 20, 1963.
    More Details Hide Details Kris was pregnant, and Rick later described the union as a "shotgun wedding." Nelson, a nonpracticing Protestant, received instruction in Catholicism at the insistence of the bride's parents and signed a pledge to have any children of the union raised in the Catholic faith. Kris Nelson joined the television show as a regular cast member in 1963. They had four children: actress Tracy Kristine Nelson, twin sons Gunnar Eric Nelson and Matthew Gray Nelson who formed the band Nelson, and Sam Hilliard Nelson.
    On May 8, 1961 (his 21st birthday), he officially modified his recording name from "Ricky Nelson" to "Rick Nelson".
    More Details Hide Details His childhood nickname proved hard to shake, especially among the generation who had watched him grow up on "Ozzie and Harriet". Even in the 1980s, when Nelson realized his dream of meeting Carl Perkins, Perkins noted that he and "Ricky" were the last of the "rockabilly breed."
  • TEENAGE
  • 1960
    Age 19
    By 1960, the Ricky Nelson International Fan Club had 9,000 chapters around the world.
    More Details Hide Details Nelson was the first teen idol to utilize television to promote hit records. Ozzie Nelson even had the idea to edit footage together to create some of the first music videos. This creative editing can be seen in videos Ozzie produced for "Travelin' Man." Nelson appeared on the Sullivan show in 1967, but his career by that time was in limbo. He also appeared on other television shows (usually in acting roles). In 1973, he had an acting role in an episode of The Streets of San Francisco. He starred in the episode "A Hand For Sonny Blue" from the 1977 series Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale). In 1979, he guest-hosted on Saturday Night Live, spoofing his television sitcom image by appearing in a Twilight Zone sendup in which, always trying to go "home," he finds himself among the characters from other 1950s/early 1960s-era sitcoms, Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy, and I Love Lucy.
  • 1958
    Age 17
    In 1958, Nelson recorded 17-year-old Sharon Sheeley's "Poor Little Fool" for his second album, Ricky Nelson, released in June 1958.
    More Details Hide Details Radio airplay brought the tune notice, and Imperial suggested releasing a single, but Nelson opposed the idea, believing a single would diminish EP sales. When a single was released nonetheless, he exercised his contractual right to approve any artwork and vetoed a picture sleeve. On August 4, 1958, "Poor Little Fool" became the #1 single on Billboards newly instituted Hot 100 singles chart and sold over two million copies. Nelson stated
    In the summer of 1958, Nelson conducted his first full-scale tour, averaging $5,000 nightly.
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    During these two years, Presley had only recorded music for King Creole in January and February 1958 before his induction into the U.S. Armed Forces, and a brief recording session consisting of five songs while on Military Leave four months later.
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    During 1958 and 1959, Nelson placed twelve hits on the charts in comparison with Presley's eleven.
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  • 1957
    Age 16
    Nelson grew increasingly dissatisfied performing with older jazz and country session musicians, who were openly contemptuous of rock and roll. After his Ohio and Minnesota tours in the summer of 1957, he decided to form his own band with members closer to his age.
    More Details Hide Details Eighteen-year-old electric guitarist James Burton was the first signed. Bassist James Kirkland, drummer Richie Frost, and pianist Gene Garf completed the band. Their first recording together was "Believe What You Say". Prior to this, Joe Maphis had been playing the lead guitar part.
    Nelson's first album, Ricky, was released in October 1957 and hit #1 before the end of the year.
    More Details Hide Details Following these successes, Nelson was given a more prominent role on the Ozzie and Harriet show and ended every two or three episodes with a musical number.
    In early summer 1957, Ozzie Nelson pulled his son from Verve after disputes about royalties and signed him to a lucrative five-year deal with Imperial Records that gave him approval over song selection, sleeve artwork, and other production details.
    More Details Hide Details Ricky's first Imperial single, "Be-Bop Baby", generated 750,000 advance orders, sold over one million copies, and reached #3 on the charts.
    When the television series went on summer break in 1957, Nelson made his first road trip and played four state and county fairs in Ohio and Wisconsin with the Four Preps, who opened and closed for him.
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    Before the single was released, he made his television rock-and-roll debut on April 10, 1957 singing and playing the drums to "I'm Walkin'" in the Ozzie and Harriet episode "Ricky, the Drummer".
    More Details Hide Details About the same time, he made an unpaid public appearance, singing "Blue Moon of Kentucky" with the Four Preps at a Hamilton High School lunch hour assembly in Los Angeles and was greeted by hordes of screaming teens who had seen the television episode. "I'm Walkin'" reached #4 on Billboards Best Sellers in Stores chart, and its flip side, "A Teenager's Romance", hit #2.
    On March 26, 1957, he recorded the Fats Domino standard "I'm Walkin'" and "A Teenager's Romance" (released in late April 1957 as his first single), and "You're My One and Only Love".
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details In 1958, Nelson released his first #1 single, "Poor Little Fool", and in 1959 received a Golden Globe nomination for "Most Promising Male Newcomer" after starring in Rio Bravo. A few films followed, and when the television series was cancelled in 1966, Nelson made occasional appearances as a guest star on various television programs.
  • 1956
    Age 15
    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."
    More Details Hide Details At age sixteen, he wanted to impress his girlfriend of two years, Diana Osborn(e), who was an Elvis Presley fan and, although he had no record contract at the time, told her that he, too, was going to make a record. With his father's help, he secured a one-record deal with Verve Records, an important jazz label looking for a young and popular personality who could sing or be taught to sing.
  • 1954
    Age 13
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He played football at Hollywood High and represented the school in interscholastic tennis matches. Twenty-five years later, Nelson told the Los Angeles Weekly he hated school because it "smelled of pencils" and he was forced to rise early in the morning to attend. Ozzie Nelson was a Rutgers alumnus and keen on college education, but eighteen-year-old Ricky was already in the 93 percent income-tax bracket and saw no reason to attend. At age thirteen, Ricky was making over $100,000 per annum, and at sixteen he had a personal fortune of $500,000. Nelson's wealth was astutely managed by his parents, who channeled his earnings into trust funds. Although his parents permitted him a $50 allowance at the age of eighteen, Rick was often strapped for cash and one evening collected and redeemed empty pop bottles to gain entrance to a movie theater for himself and a date.
  • 1952
    Age 11
    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.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1949
    Age 8
    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."
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  • 1944
    Age 3
    The show debuted on Sunday, October 8, 1944, to favorable reviews.
    More Details Hide Details Ozzie eventually became head writer for the show and based episodes on the fraternal exploits and enmity of his sons.
  • 1942
    Age 1
    Ricky joined his parents and brother in Los Angeles in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details Ricky was a small and insecure child who suffered from severe asthma. At night, his sleep was eased with a vaporizer emitting tincture of evergreen. He was described by Red Skelton's producer John Guedel as "an odd little kid," likable, shy, introspective, mysterious, and inscrutable. When Skelton was drafted in 1944, Guedel crafted the radio sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for Ricky's parents.
  • 1941
    Age 0
    In November 1941, the Nelsons bought what would become their permanent home: a green and white, two-story, Cape Cod colonial home at 1822 Camino Palmero in Los Angeles.
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    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.
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  • 1940
    Born
    Eric Hilliard "Ricky" Nelson was born on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey.
    More Details Hide Details He was the second son of big band leader Ozzie Nelson, who was half Swedish, and his wife, big band vocalist Harriet Hilliard Nelson (born Peggy Louise Snyder). Harriett remained in Englewood, New Jersey, with her newborn and her older son David, while Ozzie toured with the Nelson orchestra.
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