Sunday, December 31, 2006

THE LAST DAY OF 2006 AND REMEMBERING RICKY NELSON




Today is the last day of 2006. It's been a troubled year for me and yet a year with a new job and better pay. I continue to write and hope that something clicks very soon. Sometimes it's very hard to keep your chin up. The accident of course was the decided low point of my life, but I am healthy and God and my dear Blessed Mother protected me from being seriously injured. There should n't be any way I walked away from that night except a miracle of God! Poor John has had more teeth problem in 2006 than at any other time in his life! But overall, things were okay and Christmas for me was wonderful! I will spend a quiet evening alone I guess. Today is also the anniversary of the passing of Ricky Nelson.Ricky Nelson began a rock and roll music career in 1957 recorded his debut single, the Fats Domino song "I'm Walkin'", seeking to impress a date who was an Elvis Presley fan — Nelson's first song was a hit, reaching #4 on the charts. Soon, each episode of the Ozzie & Harriet television show ended with a musical performance by "Ricky". It was during the sitcom's run that Ozzie Nelson, either as a move to keep his son's fans tuned in each week, or as an affirmation of his reputed behind-the-scenes persona as a control freak, kept Ricky from appearing on other TV shows that arguably would have enhanced his public profile, American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show in particular. Ironically, Rick finally did appear on the Sullivan show in 1967, but where his career was at that time made it seem irrelevant. In spite the promotional aspects of his career, it is clear that Nelson knew and loved music, and was a credible performer before he became a teen idol, largely due to his parents' musical background. Unlike many teen idols of the time, Nelson showed his personal taste in working with strong musicians including James Burton, Joe Maphis, The Jordanaires and Johnny and Dorsey Burnette.From 1957 to 1962, Nelson had 30 top 40 hits, more than any other artist at the time, except Elvis Presley. Many of Nelson's early records were double hits with both the A side and the B side hitting the Billboar charts. When Billboard introduced the Hot 100chart on August 4 1958 Nelson's single "Poor Little Fool" became the first song ever in the #1 position on that chart.While Nelson preferred rockabilly and uptempo rock songs like "Hello Mary Lou", "It's Late", "Stood Up", and "Be-Bop Baby", his smooth, calm voice made him a natural to sing ballads. He had major success with "Travelin' Man", "Poor Little Fool", "Young World", "Lonesome Town", and "Teenage Idol", which clearly could have been about Nelson himself at the time.In 1963, Nelson signed a 20-year contract with Decca Records, but he had no further major hits after 1964's "For You". In the mid-1960s, he began to move towards country music but did not reach the Top 40 again until 1970, when he recorded Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me" with the Stone Canyon Band.
In 1972, Nelson reached the top 40 one last time with "Garden Party", a song he wrote in disgust after a Madison Square Garden audience booed him when he tried playing new songs instead of just his old hits from the 1950s and 1960s. "Garden Party" reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and was certified as a gold single. (Coincidentally, "Garden Party" was a hit at the same time Nelson's influence Elvis Presley was having his last top 10 single, "Burning Love", as was Chuck Berry with "My Ding-a-Ling" Rick Nelson sadly never regained his career's momentum. By the late 1970s, Nelson's life was in shambles. His wife had divorced him and taken their four children. He wasn't making records anymore and when he played live at all, it was in very small, insignificant venues. Nelson began using drugs, especially marijuana. In 1985, he joined a nostalgia rock tour of England. It was a major success, and it revived some interest in Nelson. He tried to duplicate that effect in the United States, and he began a tour of the South. While on that tour, he died in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas in 1985. He was on his way to a New Year's Eve concert in Dalla, Texas. Nelson was interred in the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in LosAngeles, California The last song he sang on stage before his death was Buddy Holly's "Rave On." I was a big fan of Ricky Nelson and his two sons come into the camera store where I work every now and then. So Happy New Year to everyone and may 2007 be a most Blessed year. May your every dream come true.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of Ricky tonighnt. Thanks for the memory.

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