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CD Review: Ricky Nelson-Greatest Hits

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“Ricky’s talent was very accessible to me. I felt we had a lot in common. In a few years’ time he’d record some of my songs, make them sound like they were his own, like he had written them himself.”-Bob Dylan

Twenty years ago, December 31, 1985 Ricky Nelson died in a tragic plane crash. This month PBS aired Ricky Nelson Sings featuring performances from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Ricky’s clean cut look won viewers over and made rock and roll seem not so threatening to suburbia’s parents. Rick performed material by such greats as the Burnette Brothers, Fats Domino, and “Poor Little Fool” written by Eddie Cochran’s girlfriend Sharon Sheeley. Legendary guitar player James Burton (who probably was one of the first guitarists to bend strings) played on most of Ricky’s recordings, and appeared on the TV show as the guitar player in Nelson’s band in what probably were the first music videos. VH1 designated the performance of “I’m Walkin'” on Ozzie and Harriet as number 39 on VH1’s 100 greatest video moments in rock history.

Rick had 17 top ten singles from 1961-1972, although 16 were from 1957-1963. “Garden Party” went to number six in 1972. Capitol/EMI has issued Ricky Nelson-Greatest Hits which contains 25 tunes. My personal favorites are:

· “Believe What You Say”
· “Waitin’ In School”
· “Stood Up”
· “It’s Late”

Track Listing

1. Travelin’ Man (1961)
2. Hello Mary Lou (1961)
3. Poor Little Fool (1958)
4. Lonesome Town (1958)
5. Believe What You Say (1958)
6. I’m Walkin’ (1957)
7. Waitin’ In School (1958)
8. Everlovin’ (1961)
9. Fools Rush In (1963)

10. Teenage Idol (1962)
11. Stood Up (1957)
12. Be Bop Baby (1957)
13. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It (1958)
14. It’s Late (1959)
15. Never Be Anyone Else But You (1959)
16. I Got A Feeling (1958)
17. Sweeter Than You (1959)
18. Young Emotions (1960)
19. A Wonder Like You (1961)
20. Just A Little Too Much (1959)
21. It’s Up To You (1962)
22. Young World (1962)
23. I Wanna Be Loved (1959)
24. You Are The Only One (1960)
25. Garden Party (1972)

It was many years ago, but these songs were the foundation upon which modern rock/pop was built.

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About Neal Gardner

  • anthony joseph lucchese

    I saw Ricky Nelson in person at McCormack Place in Chicago when I was younger ….I am 62 now. He was my idol and what a smooth singer. I stood in awe when I saw him enter the stage with the introduction of ” star of radio , television and screen”. He was very sharp looking and handsome and what a perfectionist. When I hear some of his past songs I think why did this great talent have to die. I am glad I had a chance to see this great singer. I will always remember him . (and his family)

    Anthony Joseph Lucchese