Song of the Day: Ricky Nelson, “Hello Mary Lou”

There’s nothing particularly special about this song until James Burton’s guitar solo, which is elegant in its simplicity and its appropriateness to the song. It influenced many players, not the least of which being Brian May from Queen. This was on Ricky’s sixth album, Rick Is 21. It was released as a double A side single in 1960 and reached #9, while the flip side, “Travelin’ Man,” reached #1. In the UK, it was released as the A side and reached #2. It also spent 14 weeks at #1 in Norway.

26 thoughts on “Song of the Day: Ricky Nelson, “Hello Mary Lou”

    1. I don’t think he gets enough credit. The later ’50’s and early ’60’s were kind of an odd time for music. Rock ‘n’ Roll was losing popularity and the singers like Neil Sedaka, Bobby Vinton, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Darin etc. were getting more popular, which should have been perfect for him, but he gets lost in the shuffle. He might have had the same problem The Monkees had: he had a hard time being taken seriously as a musician, because he was considered more of an actor.

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      1. I agree it was the acting thing that added to it…but it also made him. People tend not to pay attention as much to actors turned musicians…but I’m sure he was a musician first.

        The only fifties icon without some cloud over him and alive. was Fats Domino I believe.


        1. Fats was an interesting guy. His music was as much New Orleans as rock & roll, and he was open to a lot of influences. Did you ever hear his cover of The Beatles’ “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey”?

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          1. Yes I did and his cover of Lady Madonna…he did them very well. Really…Lady Madonna was really made for him…it sounds more like Paul covering him than the other way around…the song has Fats written all over it.

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