"RICK NELSON, ROCK 'N' ROLL PIONEER", By Sheree Homer. Foreword By Bruce Berenson. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
IF YOU'VE READ MY BIO SECTION (ABOUT JONNIE KING) you know that my "Broadcasting Roots" were honed & polished by the "Roots of Rock 'N' Roll". And, in October of 1981, I was privileged to Interview one of R&R's true Legends: Rick Nelson.
I have Interviews from Rick (see the Link below), and, along with hearing Rick's stories, you can read my info and memories of that memorable, and way too brief, time I spent talking to Rick. These Interview stories with Rick are always among the most popular Sections of the Site, and I'm proud that I was able to record his History for all who come here to enjoy...and to learn from. He was a consumate professional, and a true gentleman in every sense of the word. I have done literally hundreds of Interviews in my career since 1967...and my Interview with Rick is one of my personal favorites of all-time. Period.
One day I got an eMail from SHEREE HOMER telling me she had listened to the Interviews, truly enjoyed them, and stated that she had written a book about Rick entitled "Rick Nelson, Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer". Well, I instantly replied back to her, thanked her for her kind words, and asked for a copy of the book so that I could Review it and give all of you, kind readers, a chance to get a copy for your collection.
If you grew up, as I did, watching "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" on TV every week (or, hearing their long-running Radio show in the 40's & 50's), you know how important Rick Nelson was to the early Rock 'n' Roll/Rockabilly movement, and Sheree's book let's you re-live it all over again. BUT, if you're younger and didn't have that opportunity, the book so well-defines all of Rick's "time periods" that you'll feel as if you were there anyway !
Sheree is an accomplished writer, has run her own "Rockabilly Revue" magazine, and has contributed numerous articles that have been published Nationally. And, in doing this special book on Rick Nelson, shows a true love of the subject, his life, his history, and, his long and varied career.
Rick, as I stated to him in my Interview, and as Sheree notes in her book, was at one time Elvis' closest rival ! He was the 5th most popular recording artist of the 1950's, and Sheree's research, Interviews with his family, friends, fellow-musicians, and, producers, shed a candid look into Rick's background that is both professional & honest. It shows the many sides of Rick that made up the man and the musician.
I met Rick's long-running, most-influential producer, Jimmie Haskell, at an ABC/Dunhill Convention in 1971, and told him how I had admired his work through the years. He thanked me, and said that I was the only one there who had taken the time to tell him that. Again, a class-act, and a true production Wizard, so you'll enjoy Jimmie's comments in this book.
Guitarist James Burton is another whose work I have loved through the years. From the opening strains of Dale Hawkins' "Susie-Q", to seeing him in Concert with Elvis on April 17, 1972, when I was Music Director & Air Personality at KAAY in Little Rock, he's always been one of the best...and, universally admired by his peers, as well as his fans. His stories about recording and traveling with Rick are among the most important in the book. James Burton was a key to getting some personal background stories on Rick, and I compliment Sheree with the in-depth way she handled it.
Plus, Sheree's support, along with stories & photos, from Rick's family, was vital to the information included in the book...and, it was perfect on all accounts. The book contains a filmography, a discography, and in addition, lists all of the Nelson's Radio & TV shows in order, from 1944-1966, in its 206 pages, and has 47 photos...many never seen before.
All-in-all, I cannot tell you what a wonderful addition this would be to your personal library. Rick Nelson was a "car guy" as well as a true R&R Pioneer. Music & Cars have gone together since the first radio was installed in one of those classic rides of the 1930's...and, Rick's "Greatest Hits" CD is played almost-monthly in my "Daily Driver" !
Oh ! My personal Rick Nelson favorites ? I've been asked that many times, so here are my Top 5 RN Greatest Hits: "Poor Little Fool"; "There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You"; "Lonesome Town; "Teenage Idol"/"Believe What You Say" (tie); "Garden Party". There now ! Are you happy ?!
IF YOU LOVE ROCK & ROLL HISTORY, if you ever watched "The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet", if you've ever wanted to learn about one of the biggest and best true Superstar's of All-Time...you have to own "Rick Nelson, Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer" by Sheree Homer !
NOTE: Copies of "Rick Nelson, Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer" are available at www.mcfarlandpub.com Call 800-253-2187 to order your copy.
AND, TO ACCESS MY INTERVIEW WITH RICK, and listen to PART 1 right now, simply Click-On Here, listen, and, ENJOY ! JK