The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists what it considers the "Essential Songs" of an artist to be at the time of their induction. The following are the songs they picked for Ricky Nelson when he was inducted in 1987 (listed in the order the R&R HOF website lists them):
Hello Mary Lou - Travelin' Man - Poor Little Fool - Garden Party - I'm Walkin' - Lonesome Town - If You Can't Rock Me - She Belongs to Me - Stood Up - Be-Bop Baby
When Ricky died, Bob Dylan (who wrote about Nelson's influence in his 2004 memoir "Chronicles, Vol. 1") paid tribute to his friend out on the road with a moment of silence and a solemn version of "Lonesome Town" at each concert.
In 1975, Ricky was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1515 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Ricky was the first teen idol to use television as a way to promote hit records. Usually, as a way of increasing sales, recording artists appeared on television after a record had already been released. Ricky, however, previewed many of his songs on The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet before they were released. His version of "I'm Walkin'" made #4 on the Billboard singles chart and sold over a million copies after he performed it on TV.
Rick was ranked #2 by TV Guide in the top 25 greatest teen idols.
"Rolling Stone Magazine" ranked Rick as the 91st "greatest Rock 'n' Roll artists" of all time.
The plane Rick was traveling in upon his death caught fire when an on-board heater short-circuiting and catching fire.
Rick appeared at "The Rock Revival" at Madison Square Garden which took place in 1971.
Rick is laid to rest at "Forest Lawn" in Hollywood Hills, California.
Rick's brother, David Nelson, is an actor, director and producer.
Rick married Kristin Harmon on April 20 1963. They had 4 children together before divorcing in 1981.
Rick was born Eric Hilliard Nelson but took the name of Ricky as a young boy. It was derived from Eric.
Ricky grew up in front of the whole country on his parents television show, appearing in 357 episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet from 1952 to 1966.
Buzzy Pringle was the character Rick played in "Love and Kisses" in 1965.
Ricky's last appearance on TV as an "actor" was playing "Skeeter" in the animated CBS Library presentation, A Tale of Four Wishes (1981).
One night on a date, when a girl swooned over an Elvis Presley song on the radio, Ricky countered by claiming that he too was a rock singer and hurriedly cut a cover of Fats Domino's c "I'm Walkin'" - which, thanks to the TV show, became a hit and started his music career. Almost 30 years later, in 1985, Ricky appeared with Fats in a televised concert : "Ricky Nelson & Fats Domino: Live at the Universal Amphitheatre". The pair had separate mini-concerts and then performed "I'm Walkin'" together. In his portion of the program, Ricky was joined by Elvis's old back-up group, The Jordanaires, who may well have been on that song on the radio. Full circle indeed, four month later, he was gone.
At the time of his death, Rick was engaged to Helen Blair. She was with him and his band on December 31, 1985 when their plane crashed near DeKalb, Texas killing everyone on board except the pilots, who escaped through the cockpit window.
Rick's parents were Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard, stars of the popular show The Adventures of Ozzie And Harriet - which also starred Ricky, his brother David and their wives and children as they came along.
Ricky: If memories were all I sang, I'd rather drive a truck.
Ricky: Just believe in what you're doing, and keep doing it.
Ricky: A career is a series of comebacks.