Sunday, February 15, 2009

my nelson rating

If you wanted music television before MTV, then tune into The Adventures of Ozzy & Harriet Show. The song TRAVELING MAN is considered the first conceptualized rock video made. Ricky Nelson was one of those talented kids that actually made the crossover from television to music stardom. Back in the mid fifties to early sixties, Ricky Nelson was second only to Elvis Presley.

Most of you know that both Ozzy and Harriet got their start in show business via the music business. Ozzy used to conduct a swing band and his wife Harriet fronted the orchestra with her vocals. Ozzy and Harriet went from stage, to radio, to television, eventually bringing their kids into the act. I liked the show because it had a relaxed realness to the characters. They were after all a real family in front of the camera - even if they were acting from a script - each of their performance was laid-back and natural.

Ricky Nelson took a plunge into music that his Dad offered as much encouragement and support. Unlike a lot of television to music crossover attempts - Ricky Nelson had a real talent for not only singing but writing top hits. Ozzy encouraged his son to place his crooning ballads on the front side of his 45 releases and then the faster rock-n-roll numbers on back. Many times Ricky's A & B sides were hit the top 100.

Rick died on New Years Eve, 1985 in DeKalb, TX.. after a gig just in Guntersville, AL due to electrical problems. The pilot tried to land the plane in a field but the cabin was filled with smoke. One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits ever was when Rick Nelson hosted back in the late seventies. It was a faux Twilight Zone episode where Ricky Nelson (playing himself) trying to get back home. He'd always find himself in other television homes of that day (Father's Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, etc.) It was funny stuff. Again, I like a guy that doesn't mind poking fun at himself.

Rick Nelson was a great talent - and I'll never get enough of him. I know if he were still around - he'd still be writing and singing.
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