The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

back to profile

Ricky Nelson


Eric Hilliard Nelson - a.k.a. Ricky Nelson - is born in Teaneck, New Jersey.


Brothers Rick and David Nelson - the sons of bandleader Ozzie and singer Harriet Nelson - make their first appearance their parents’ radio show.


The popular TV sitcom Ozzie & Harriet - a family affair that includes brothers Rick and David Nelson - debuts on ABC-TV.


Ricky Nelson releases his first single, both sides of which - “A Teenager’s Romance” and “I’m Walkin’” - make the Top Five.


Ricky Nelson scores the first of many hits for the Imperial label when the rockabilly number “Be-Bop Baby” enters the Top Forty, en route to #3.


Ricky Nelson’s debut album - simply titled Ricky - hits Number One for the first of two weeks.


“Poor Little Fool,” by Ricky Nelson, hits Number One for the first of two weeks. It is the teen idol’s first chart-topper and third million seller.


Rick Nelson turns 21, marking the passage to adulthood by henceforth shortening his performing name from “Ricky” to “Rick.”


“Travelin’ Man,” by Rick Nelson, hits Number one for the first of two weeks. It is his second (and final) chart-topper.


Rick Nelson signs a million-dollar deal with Decca Records, for which he’ll record for the next ten years.


“For You,” by Rick Nelson, enters the Top Forty, where it will peak at #6. He won’t have another Top Ten single until 1972’s “Garden Party.”


The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, featuring their rock-and-rolling son Rick Nelson, ends its fourteen-year run.


Rick Nelson is reportedly booed for his long hair and new sound at an oldies revival show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The experience will inspire the song “Garden Party.”


Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” enters the Top Forty en route to #6. It is his first Top Ten hit since 1964.


Rick Nelson’s last studio album, Playin’ to Win - produced by Jack Nitszche - is released on Capitol Records.


Rick Nelson is killed when his tour plane catches fire and crashes in DeKalb, Texas. Six others die in the crash, including Nelson’s fiance and band.


Rick Nelson is buried following a memorial service in Hollywood Hills, California.


Ricky Nelson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 2nd annual induction dinner. John Fogerty is his presenter.


Legacy, a four-disc box-set compendium of Rick Nelson’s work, is released on Capitol Records.