The great early rock ‘n’ roller Ricky Nelson would have celebrated his 70th birthday today if he hadn’t tragically died in a plane crash on December 31, 1985.
Ricky Nelson is best known for his early rock ‘n’ roll recordings, made while he was on the American sitcom “The Ozzie and Harriet Show.” The weekly promotion from that show helped Ricky secure 30 top 40 hits between 1957 and 1962, which put him third behind Elvis and Pat Boone in that period.
Among those 30 hits were classics such as “Hello Mary Lou,” “Lonesome Town,” “It’s Late,” “Believe What You Say,” “Poor Little Fool,” “Travelin’ Man” and “Stood Up.”
Here’s four of his biggest and most memorable hits.
Ricky Nelson – “Believe What You Say”
Ricky Nelson – “It’s Late”
Ricky Nelson – “Hello Mary Lou”
Ricky Nelson – “Lonesome Town”
|Ricky Nelson had made his big screen debut in 1952 with “Here Come the Nelsons” and with his rock ‘n’ roll career taking off soon found himself with more movie offers in the late 50s.
In 1959, Ricky put in a solid performance alongside John Wayne and Dean Martin in Rio Bravo. He also did well the following year starring with Jack Lemmon in the less memorable “The Wackiest Ship in the Army.”
The hits began to dry up for Ricky Nelson in the mid-60s. It was in this period that he began to change his musical direction and move towards a more country sound, with albums such as “Bright Lights and Country Music,” “Country Fever” and “On the Flip Side.” Ricky was one of the pioneers of country rock, but his accomplishments in this area are overshadowed by the success of his early records.
Here’s two tracks to highlight Ricky Nelson’s prowess as a country singer. The first is from Ricky’s 1966 album “Bright Lights and Country Music” and the second from the 1967 album “Country Fever.”
Ricky Nelson – “You Just Can’t Quit”
Ricky Nelson – “Salty Dog”
Ricky Nelson did still make the occasional dent on the charts, including “She Belongs to Me” (#38) in 1969 and the classic “Garden Party” (#6) in 1972, which was his final top 40 hit.
In his last few years, Ricky was back on the road delighting his fans with his classic rock ‘n’ roll songs. Ricky and his band were killed in a plane crash on December 31, 1985 on the way to a New Year’s Eve gig in Dallas,Texas.
Headline News story from night of Ricky Nelson’s death
Let’s conclude with a great performance from just months before Ricky died.
Ricky Nelson – “Garden Party”
Tags: Ricky Nelson
Posted in Rock 'n' roll |