From A Sports Legend’s Daughter To Animal Trainer: The Women Who Loved Rick Nelson

Well, well, well. What started as a pretty wholesome early life and marriage ended in a drug fueled, reckless life for Mr. Rick Nelson. You almost expect the craziness these days with album covers being so uh, risqué but album covers of earlier eras seem so innocent that it’s hard to believe what’s underneath.

Let’s go through it all now, starting with a few girlfriends and moving to the wife, baby mama and last girlfriend that seemed to encourage his drug use (from the accounts available online).

When Ricky was 17, he met and fell in love with Marianne Gaba, who played the role of Ricky’s girlfriend in three episodes of Ozzie and Harriet. Nelson and Gaba were too young to entertain a serious relationship though. The next year, Nelson fell in love with 15-year-old Lorrie Collins, a country singer appearing on a weekly telecast. They wrote Nelson’s first composition, the song “My Gal,”. She also appeared in an Ozzie and Harriet episode as Ricky’s girlfriend and sang “Just Because” with him in the musical finale. They went steady and discussed marriage, but their parents discouraged the idea.

At Christmas 1961, Nelson began dating Sharon Kristin “Kris” Harmon, the daughter of football legend Tom Harmon and actress Elyse Knox. The Nelsons and the Harmons had long been friends, and a union between their children held great appeal.

They married on April 20, 1963. Kris was pregnant, and Rick later described the union as a “shotgun wedding.” Kris Nelson joined the TV show as a regular cast member in 1963. They had four children: actress Tracy Kristine Nelson, twin sons Gunnar Eric Nelson and Matthew Gray Nelson who formed the band Nelson, and Sam Hilliard Nelson.

By 1975, following the birth of their last child, the marriage had deteriorated and a very public, controversial divorce with both families involved. In 1977, Kris filed for divorce and asked for alimony, custody of their children, and a portion of community property. After years of legal proceedings, they were divorced in December 1982. The divorce was financially devastating for Nelson, with attorneys and accountants taking over $1 million.

In May 1980, Nelson met Georgeann Crewe at the Playboy Resort in New Jersey. Crewe unsuccessfully attempted to contact Nelson several times to let him know that she was pregnant, and in February 1981, she gave birth to Nelson’s son, Eric Jude Crewe. In 1985, a blood test confirmed Nelson was the father, but Nelson was not interested in Crewe or their son. He declined to meet with them to the point that he avoided playing concerts in Atlantic City. Although Nelson agreed to provide $400 a month in child support, he did not provide for the child in his will.

Also in 1980, Nelson met Helen Blair, a part-time model and exotic animal trainer, in Las Vegas. Within months of their meeting, she became his road companion, and in 1982 she moved in with him. She was the only woman he dated after his divorce.

She acted as personal assistant to Nelson, organizing his day and acting as a liaison for his fan club, but Nelson’s mother, brother, business manager, and manager disapproved of her presence in his life. She died in the lane crash with Ricky. Helen’s parents wanted their daughter buried next to Nelson, but his mother dismissed the idea. The Blairs refused to bury Helen’s remains and filed a $2 million wrongful death suit against Nelson’s estate. They received a small settlement.

During the Nelson divorce proceedings, he was accused by his wife’s attorney of using cocaine, quaaludes, and other drugs, and of having “a severe drug problem” encouraged by his managers, his entourage, and his groupies. Following the divorce, while he was involved with Helen Blair, his drug use grew so dire that friends urged him to seek treatment for substance abuse. Traces of cocaine, marijuana, and the painkiller Darvon were found in Nelson’s blood in tests conducted after his death.


Side One

A Teenage Romance

Side Two

I’m Walkin’

Mr. Richard’s Reviews: 101 Strings – A Night In The Tropics EP

101 Strings – A Night In The Tropics EP – The Lady And The Matador, You My Love, Exotic Night, and The Magic Island (performed by The 101 Strings Orchestra)

This was an odd find whilst crate digging in town. As I love easy-listening music, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up when I found it. As far as the EP goes, this is one from the series of literally hundreds that is worth having.

As soon as it comes on, there is an orchestral fullness of Mexican undertones. Because there are anywhere from 128 to 141 players at once, the quality of the recording is amazing and it brings me back to my trip to Cozumel, Mexico, or an any other island in the Caribbean I imagine.

The 101 stringed instruments are always 30 first violins, 26 second violins, 20 violas, 18 cellos, and 7 string basses. The rest of the instruments may include woodwinds, brass, and percussion typically, all of which are comprised of interchangeable concertmeisters in the first chairs and other talented concert performers from around Europe. This is a way to keep costs down but still maintain the style and sound of “name” conductors’ orchestras and build a wide variety of releases.

Usually the EPs, started by Dick L. Miller in 1957, were produced around a particular, unifying theme like the work of a well-known artist or songwriter, a specific topic (patriotism, holidays, et al.), TV/movie themes and scores, songs from a particular country, revampings of familiar tunes from other genres, and so on. However, some were original scores. ‘A Night In The Tropics’ is an EP from the first year that the group formed in 1957 and released in 1958.

Unfortunately, they were disbanded in 1981, but if you can find any of their 45rpm EPs don’t hesitate to purchase it and try it out. Hopefully it isn’t a reissue as some are very collectible and sought after! This truly is one of my favorite 4 song EPs that we own.

- Mr. Richard

Check out the original post HERE.

Ricky Nelson Is A Travelin’ Man

“Travelin’ Man” is a single by Ricky Nelson. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100; its b-side, “Hello Mary Lou”, reached number nine on the same chart.

The song details the loves of a traveling man. They were a “pretty señorita” in Mexico, an Eskimo in Alaska, a fräulein in Berlin, a china doll in Hong Kong, and a Polynesian in Waikiki. There were others as well, “in every port … at least one,” mentioned obliquely during the opening verse.


Side One

Travelin’ Man

Side Two

Hello Mary Lou

Yes Sir, That’s My Poor Little Fool That I Wanna Be Loved By While Waitin’ In School

I have lots of Ricky Nelson’s 45s and a full LP so I’ve given a general background and even touched on his father Ozzie a bit. I figure that because of this, I should just jump right in to a bunch of singles. Let’s do it!


Side One

I Wanna Be Loved

Side Two

Mighty Good


Side One

Yes Sir, That’s My Baby

Side Two

I’m Not Afraid


Side One

Poor Little Fool

Side Two

Don’t Leave Me This Way


Side One

Waitin’ in School

Side Two

Stood Up

Dinah ’62

It’s really sad we lost Dinah so young. Her voice was beautiful and it’s tragic we couldn’t get a few more hits from her.

Early on the morning of December 14, 1963, Washington’s seventh husband, football great Dick “Night Train” Lane, went to sleep with his wife, and awoke later to find her slumped over and not responsive. An autopsy later showed a lethal combination of secobarbital and amobarbital, which contributed to her death at the age of 39. She is buried in the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.


Dinah ’62

Dinah Washington

Side One

Drinking Again
Destination Moon
Miss You
A Handful of Stars
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby

Side Two

You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You
Red Sails in the Sunset
Where Are You
Take Your Shoes Off Baby

Les Compagnons de la Chanson

My dad was actually part French-Canadian but my mother has strong Greek roots that tended to overrun the culture in my home. My roomie is French-Canadian so it’s been nice to revisit some of the music and traditions. Although the group isn’t French Canadian, this is a French speaking album about Canada.

Les Compagnons De La Chanson were a French vocal group from Lyon, France, founded during World War II. Before 1946, they were part of a larger choir. The group met Edith Piaf first in 1944, and performed in German occupied Paris.

Some of the group’s biggest hits were “Tom Dooley”, “Kalinka” and “The Three Bells (The Jimmy Brown Song)”. Les Compagnons De La Chanson made over 350 records and undertook around 300 concerts per year. Their final concert was in 1985.


Au Canada

Les Compagnons de la Chanson

Side One

Que C’est Triste Venise
La Costa Brava
Nitchevo! Nitchevo!
Entends Ce Message
Y’a Rien a Faire

Side Two

Au Printemps Tu Reviendras
Les Dix Petits Freres
Mon Espagnole
Mets Ton Chapeau
Quelqu’un D’autre Que Moi