1940 - 1985
Born Eric Hilliard Nelson on May 8, 1940, "Ricky" grew up in and around the entertainment industry.
At age 8 Ricky joined his family in a popular radio series called "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". By age 12 the show had made the transition to television. His good looks and personality made him an important fixture on the show that lasted well into the mid-sixties.
The fact that he was a big TV star didn't hurt his chances when he decided to take on the pop music world in 1957, scoring big with his million selling release "I'm Walking" on the Verve label. After only three singles, he moved on to Imperial Records and a string of hits followed. Some of most memorable include "Poor Little Fool", "Traveling Man", "Hello MaryLou" (written by Gene Pitney) and many more.
Ricky also expanded his acting ability by moving from TV to movies in such films as "Rio Bravo", "Wackiest Ship in the Army" and "Love and Kisses".
With the "British Invasion" in full force on pop radio, Ricky's regular chart appearances began to dwindle. But there was another audience that would embrace his talents... the country music listeners. By now Ricky preferred to be called Rick, and soon became known as one of the first country rockers with albums like "Bright Lights And Country Music" and "Country Fever".
In the early 70's there was a retro movement, and Rick would appear on Rock and Roll Revival shows. Much to his surprise, he was booed off stage during a large scale event at Madison Square Garden. It was this experience that inspired the song that charted high on all charts, and became a multi-million seller: "Garden Party".
One of the first teen
idols - died in a plane crash in DeKalb, Texas... he was 45.
© 2000 Eddie Bear Productions