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Ricky Nelson Facts

Ricky Nelson: The Timeless Iconic Singer Remembered


Ricky Nelson, born on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey, was a prominent American singer, actor, and songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s. His real name is Eric Hilliard Nelson, and he hailed from a musical family.


Ricky Nelson passed away at the age of 45 on December 31st, 1985, in a plane crash.

Relationships and Children

Ricky Nelson had five children; two with his wife Kristin Harmon and later another three with his wife, Helen Blair.


The iconic singer was 6 feet tall, and his good looks and charming personality made him a heartthrob among his fans.


Ricky Nelson’s musical journey started when he was just a teenager. After seeing him play at their home, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson – his parents – secured him a spot on an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

His first hit single was his cover of Fats Domino’s “I’m Walkin’,” which he sang on the show. Ricky went on to record multiple hits such as “Travelin’ Man,” “Hello Mary Lou,” and “Poor Little Fool,” several of which sold over one million copies.

Apart from music, Nelson was a reputed actor, featuring in movies such as “The Wackiest Ship in the Army” (1960) and “Love and Kisses” (1965). He appeared on television shows such as “The Donna Reed Show” and “The Brady Bunch.”

Ricky Nelson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and his star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986.

Top Songs

  • “Poor Little Fool” (1958)
  • “Hello Mary Lou” (1961)
  • “Travelin’ Man” (1961)
  • “Garden Party” (1972)
  • “I Got a Feeling” (1963)

Net Worth

At the time of his death, Ricky Nelson had an estimated net worth of $5 million. However, Nelson’s legacy is beyond monetary value. He inspired and influenced many musicians who followed in his footsteps.

The Impact of Ricky Nelson

The 1960s witnessed a seismic shift in the musical landscape, with rock ‘n’ roll and R&B propelling their way to the forefront of popular music genres.
Ricky Nelson found his niche, marrying country, rock, and ’50s pop sensibilities, and providing his bittersweet voice to reflective and infectious tunes alike.

The impact of Ricky Nelson’s music continues to be felt to this day, with his songs resonating with audiences across generations. Furthermore, his influence on the music scene reached beyond his time; according to Neil Young, “Ricky was too big for his shoes even in the midst of his greatness…He hadn’t even begun to peak, but he’d shown the promise of what was to come.”

The Fateful Plane Crash

On December 31, 1985, Ricky Nelson passed away in a plane crash near DeKalb, Texas, along with his band members. He was en route to Dallas for a New Year’s Eve concert, and the incident left the music industry in mourning.

The tragic death of the iconic singer was a massive loss to the industry and his fans worldwide. However, his legacy and music live on and continue to inspire new generations of musicians.


Ricky Nelson is an impactful and influential singer in American music history, with a career spanning close to three decades. His music, acting, and admirable personality made him a legend and one of the most prominent artists of the ’50s and ’60s. He continues to inspire people worldwide, and his timeless music remains a staple on radio stations worldwide. Nelson’s tragic death robbed the music world of a unique talent, but his legacy lives on, and his contribution to music remains unmatched.

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