Two For Tuesday: Ricky Nelson

We’ve ended up with a mini-theme here on Two For Tuesday: TV actors who had hits on the Top 40. Here’s one of the more obvious ones: Eric Hilliard “Ricky” Nelson, who appeared with his parents and older brother David on The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet from 1952 to 1966. The show provided a vehicle for his musical career, and usually the programs ended with a song from him. He was the father of actress Tracy Nelson and the twins Gunnar and Matthew, who have had their own band, Nelson, since 1990.

Ricky had 53 singles appear on the Billboard Hot 100, including the first-ever hit on that survey, “Poor Little Fool,” between 1957 and 1973. Beatlemania and the British Invasion stymied his career in the mid-Sixties, after which he moved in a more country direction. On New Year’s Eve 1985, he was flying from Gunterson, Alabama (where he had been visiting a friend) to Dallas when the DC-3 he was aboard caught fire and crashed near DeKalb, Texas.

I promised myself I wouldn’t pull out my favorite Ricky Nelson song, “Hello, Mary Lou”, for today’s twofer, but I think I’ve mentioned it has one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, played by James Burton. But let’s move along…

“It’s Up To You” was released in 1962 and is the title track of his album from that year. The song reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the Cash Box survey.

Ricky was invited to play at an oldies reunion concert held at Madison Square Garden in 1971, and followed some of his greatest hits with a country number. The crowd began to boo (it’s possible they were booing the police) and Ricky left the stage and refused to return for the finale. The following year, he released the album Garden Party and its title track as a single. It reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and in Canada, and #6 on the Hot 100.

Ricky Nelson, your Two For Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Join me here next week when I try to figure out who else fits the theme….

5 thoughts on “Two For Tuesday: Ricky Nelson

  1. Always liked Rick and all of the Nelson family. My favorite music that he did was his later stuff with the Stone Canyon Band. Rick Sings Nelson was a very fine album that I listened to a lot.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. He had a great voice and did good material. His later stuff with the Stone Canyon Band actually prefigures bands like The Eagles. I wonder how much he influenced them?


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