I’m quickly discovering that as I go through the R’s, my dad doesn’t seem to have many one-off artists. I’m coming across stacks of each artists and Rick Nelson isn’t any different. I’ll be breaking them up over the next week or so to get through them all.
Since I have a good amount, I figured we’d focus on Rick’s early life to kick it all off.
Ricky Nelson was born on May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was the second son of big band leader Ozzie Nelson, who was of half Swedish descent, and his wife, big band vocalist Harriet Hilliard Nelson. Harriett remained in Englewood, New Jersey, with her newborn and her older son David while Ozzie toured. In November 1941, the Nelsons bought what would become their permanent home in Los Angeles. After living with his grandparents, Ricky joined his parents and brother in Los Angeles in 1942. Ricky was a small and insecure child who suffered from severe asthma. At night, his sleep was eased with a vaporizer emitting tincture of evergreen.
His parents had a radio sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet which debuted on Sunday, October 8, 1944, to favorable reviews. Ozzie eventually became head writer for the show and based episodes on the fraternal exploits and enmity of his sons. The Nelson boys were first played in the radio series by professional child actors until twelve-year-old Dave and eight-year-old Ricky joined the show in February 1949.
In 1952, the Nelsons tested the waters for a TV series with the theatrically released film Here Come the Nelsons. The film was a hit, and Ozzie was convinced the family could make the transition from radio to the small screen. In October 1952, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet made its TV debut and was broadcast in first run until September 1966, to become one of the longest-running sitcoms in television history.
Believe What You Say
My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You