Saturday, September 3, 2011

MUSIC: Ricky Nelson

The music our parents listen to can't help but have an impact on us. We are exposed to it when we are young and impressionable, and, just as certain childhood memories remain fresh in our minds for our entire lives, so too does the music that we heard when we were young.

I have many memories of spending time at my family's country house in the Thimble Islands during the summers of my youth. And while my father was working around the house, he would often play the music of The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, and Ricky Nelson.

While everyone has heard the songs of The Beach Boys and Elvis Presley, I get the impression that the music of Ricky Nelson is a little less known to Gen Y. So if this is your first time hearing these three songs, I hope you enjoy them. I find that they have an uncanny ability to transport the listener back to the time when they were recorded (these songs are all from the late '50s and early '60s, although Ricky Nelson was active as a musician into the '70s and '80s), much like the music of Elvis. However, the boyish quality of Ricky's vocals lends the songs an innocence and an earnestness that I don't find in most of Elvis' music. Some might call it saccharine, and I might agree with them, if I didn't enjoy it so much.

Poor Little Fool (1958) - Maybe the best-known of the three I've picked out.

Hello Mary Lou (1961) - This song always makes me smile.

Travelin' Man (1961) - Ricky somehow manages to make sleeping with random women around the world seem totally innocent.

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