AFTER BEING ONE OF THE EARLIEST "TEEN IDOLS" OF THE 50'S, RICK NELSON'S CAREER, like those of Bobby Vee, Neil Sedaka, Dion, Bobby Darin, and many others, hit a decided slump after "The British Invasion" arrived in early 1964. But Rick's music had been changing, and evolving anyway. (Incidentally, one of the "architects" of the original sound & structure of Rick's early-hit recordings, was by band member and future Hall Of Fame Member, the legendary James Burton.)
Rick's music had always had a "rock-a-billy" flavor to it, and his love for country music manifested itself a step further with the 1966 release of "Bright Lights & Country Music". Friends James Burton, Glen Campbell, and The Jordanaires, were among those who contributed to the album...and Rick Nelson's career hit a major turning point. Next up was his formation of "The Stone Canyon Band".
The Stone Canyon Band, as assembled in around 1967, would include former Poco bassist, and future member of the Eagles, Randy Meisner, Richie Hayward (Little Feat), John Beland (The Flying Burrito Brothers), and steel guitar legend, Tom Brumley. Their live "Rick Nelson In Concert" LP, recorded at L.A.'s country-rock "Troubadour" brought Rick a whole new audience. And, his 1970, "Rick Sings Nelson", 1971 LP "Rudy The Fifth", and later, 1974's "Windfall", were also excellent showcases for Rick & the Band.
INCIDENTLY, one of my favorite tracks is "She Belongs To Me"...Rick's version of his friend, Bob Dylan's song from the "Troubadour" LP. The single of "She" hit the charts in October, 1969, when I was Music Director at KAAY, and stayed on Billboard's Hot 100 for an incredible 18 weeks...giving Rick his longest Chart-run since his 1958 hit "Lonesome Town" !
(Above: "Rick Sings Nelson", 1970; "Rudy The Fifth", 1971; "Windfall", 1974)
THE MONTH OF OCTOBER WAS always an interesting one for Rick Nelson...whether he realized it or not. Look at the record:
October 10, 1957: "Be-Bop Baby"/"Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" Hit The Charts
October 13, 1958: "Lonesome Town"/"I Got A Feeling" Hit The Charts
October 10, 1961: "A Wonder Like You"/"Everlovin' " Hit The Charts
October 11, 1969: "She Belongs To Me" Hits The Charts
October, 1981: The Jonnie King Interview (KSLQ Radio/St. Louis)
BUT, one of the BIGGEST October Events of all-time for Rick was the "Rock n' Roll Revival" Show at Madison Square Garden, October 15, 1971.
On the same bill with Rick at that Madison Square Garden Show was Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Bobby Rydell, The Shirelles, and many other stars. And, although that night turned out to be one of frustration for Rick, he wrote a song about it that turned into one of his all-time best seller's: "GARDEN PARTY". (For the record, "Garden Party" stayed on the Charts for an amazing 19 weeks in 1972, which actually tied Rick's very first hit "A Teenager's Romance" which had been on the Billboard's Hot 100 for 19 weeks back in 1957 !)
THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THIS PART 2 of my Interview with Rick covered, and nobody could explain it better than the man who experienced it: RICK NELSON.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: Throughout the course of this Interview, Rick was kind, humble, generous, and knowledgeable about anything that was asked. To this day I consider it one of my personal favorites of all the music-related Interviews that I've done since the beginning of my career in 1967. I was truly privileged to have done it, and I remember Rick's thoughtfulness and kindness to me every day.
I'm also proud to be able to share this Special Interview, from October of 1981 on KSLQ Radio/St. Louis, with all of you here on my Personal WebSite, so that his words, his history, and his legend won't be forgotten. Listen, learn, and enjoy, with one of the true Legends of Rock & Roll: RICK NELSON. JK
SPECIAL NOTE: IF YOU'VE READ THIS PAGE CLOSELY SO FAR, THIS WILL BLOW YOU AWAY !
CALL IT FATE, SERENDIPITY, DEJA VU, or whatever you want but, as I'm writing this Special Page, I just looked at the Calendar and the date is, pause for a minute to absorb this: OCTOBER 15, 2009...THE EXACT DATE THAT RICK PLAYED THE MADISON SQUARE GARDEN CONCERT...THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO TODAY !
This wasn't planned, and I can't explain it. But, if you believe in a "higher authority", maybe it was with Rick's intervention that my hand was guided to this day & date to finish this work...which was going to be placed on the WebSite as a Featured piece in any event. As it worked out, TODAY was the day.
Thank you, again, Rick. This was another "OCTOBER" date that turned out to be important to both of us.
(Rick was killed in a tragic plane explosion in DeKalb, Texas, on his way to a New Year's Eve Concert in Dallas. The date was December 31st, 1985. He was Inducted Posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on January 21, 1987. His presenter was John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival. )
[PLEASE NOTE: All images/photos on this page courtesy of their original owners/copyright holders...with sincere thanks.]