Ricky Nelson

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Ricky Nelson

Original Name Eric Hilliard Nelson
Teaneck, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA
Death 31 Dec 1985 (aged 45)
De Kalb, Bowie County, Texas, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Revelation section, Map #G01, Lot 3538, Single Ground Interment Space 1
Memorial ID 1602 View Source
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Singer, Actor. Born in Teaneck, New Jersey, to Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Ozzie was a band leader and Harriet was the band's vocalist. Later, they were best known for their radio show, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." Ricky and his brother David joined the show's cast playing themselves in 1944. He made his first movie in 1952's "Here comes the Nelsons." This lead to their television show, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." The show became the first and longest running family sit-com. Rick was also interested in Tennis and was ranked fifth in California among tennis player's 15 years old and younger. He competed nationally, and at one time had ambitions to go professional. His first recording was his rendition of Fats Domino‘s "I'm Walkin'." The record flew out of the stores and sold one million copies in a week, completely unheard of at that time. The song went to #2 on the Billboard Chart, and its flip side, "A Teenagers Romance" hit #2 as well. Through the power of television, he became one of the first artists that audiences saw and heard simultaneously. He would perform a song at the end of every show. Consequently American teenagers had far greater access to Rock n' Roll than they ever would have had, one of Rick Nelson's most important contribution to music. Life magazine ran a cover story on him, and coined an original phrase to describe what he had become: a "Teenage Idol." At the age of 21 he had 9 gold records and his single hit that year, "Travelin' Man," sold over 2 million copies and went to #1. Its flip side "Hello, Mary Lou" proved to be his biggest hit ever, reaching #1 in 32 countries. For the television show, Ozzie overlaid Rick's performance of "Travelin' Man" with some footage specially shot on location, making it the first conceptual rock video in history. He appeared in "Rio Bravo" (1959) and "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" (1960). He married Kristin Harmon in April 1963. They had a daughter, Tracy, and three sons, Gunner, Matthew and Sam. He and Kristen would later divorce. "Garden Party" became Rick's first million-seller in over a decade, hitting at #6 and going gold in 1972. "Interviews from the class of 55 Recording Sessions" won a Grammy in 1986 for Best Spoken Word Recording. It was Rick's only Grammy, and vastly ironic to those who knew him well as the quiet man who would rather sing than talk. On December 31, 1985, en route from Alabama to a New Year's Eve show in Dallas, Nelson's DC-3 crash-landed in a field near DeKalb, Texas. The burning plane trapped its passengers inside, killing all aboard, except the pilot and co-pilot, who escaped through the cockpit window. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Bio by: Jane Stacy Eubanks


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1602
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ricky Nelson (8 May 1940–31 Dec 1985), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1602, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .