Rick(y) Nelson was one of the most successful artists of the rock 'n' roll era. Just two years after his debut single (a cover of Fats Domino's "I'm Walkin'") Nelson had charted fifteen hits--and seven of them sold more than a million copies! Only Elvis sold more records.
Granted, it didn't hurt that Nelson had a national television audience with "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." But it obviously took more than movie idol good looks to sustain a music career that would last nearly three decades.
Many of Nelson's biggest Imperial hits featured future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist James Burton (who would become Elvis' guitarist in the Seventies). To further the Elvis connection, Nelson also frequently utilized the The Jordanaires, including on a cover of Elvis' "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," which reached No. 29 in 1957 (but not included here). Nelson also benefited from the songwriting talents of Baker Knight ("Lonesome Town," "I Got a Feeling") and rockabilly stalwarts Johnny and Dorsey Burnette ("Believe What You Say," "Waitin' in School," "It's Late").
Even though Nelson was still a month shy of his seventeenth birthday when he debuted "I'm Walkin'" on the April 10, 1957 episode, his success was no fluke. He went on to create a body of work that included some of the earliest country/rock recordings. (Although "Garden Party" Is the only song from this era of his career; all other tracks are from 1957-1963.) Eventually Nelson would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987) and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame (2003).
This latest collection is obviously intended as a memorial in that Dec. 31 will mark the twentieth anniversary of his untimely death at the age of 45. As such it does a good job of bringing together twenty-five of his thirty-six Top 40 hits. [Notable omissions are his 1964 Top Ten hit "For You" and the Bob Dylan cover "She Belongs to Me," which was a minor hit in 1970.] With a playing time of just under sixty minutes, these omissions keep this set from being definitive, but nonetheless a satisfying single-disc anthology. Those wanting more are encouraged to pick up 2000's 4-disc Legacy box set. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
I am a heavy metal fan, have no love for "teen idol" singers, and didn't grow up listening to Ricky Nelson, though I'm sure I caught a few Ozzie & Harriet episodes in syndication. I'm probably the last guy who should be raving about a Ricky Nelson Greatest Hits album, but I'm doing it just the same. I've developed an appreciation for 50's rock and rockabilly, and despite Nelson's "teen idol" status, he was a big part of that era's rock scene. Beyond having one of the absolute warmest and steadiest voices in rock, you have to admire the way Nelson took the wilder rock sounds of the era and brought them to mainstream America's living rooms. Admittedly his material was a lot "safer" than that of Gene Vincent or Buddy Holly, but I'd argue that a rockin' song like "Hello Mary Lou" comes pretty close.
There is no shortage of Ricky Nelson "Greatest Hits" packages out there (at least two dozen available on Amazon), but Capitol's 2005 compilation jumps straight to the head of the pack. In terms of sound quality, song selection, and price, you just can't beat this one. You get a whopping 25 songs, including hits like Travellin' Man, I'm Walkin, It's Late, and many more. There are so many great singles, I almost feel like I should list them all.
If you're a Ricky Nelson fan and have one of the earlier "hits" compilations, you may want to consider upgrading to this version. The difference in sound quality is very noticeable. If you're not a Nelson fan, but enjoy early rock & roll, I encourage you to give this disc a try. You might be surprised.
NOTE: There is a deluxe (translation: more expensive) version of this album that comes with a DVD featuring Ricky's musical performances on the Ozzie & Harriet Show. It's well worth the higher price tag.
on July 11, 2006
When I saw this CD advertised on TV, with its 25 hits all on one disc, I quickly decided I wanted this definitive Ricky Nelson collection if I could find it at a decent price, which wasn't long in coming. Ricky Nelson was not terribly innovative, borrowing much from others like Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino (Nelson covered Domino's far-superior "I'm Walkin'," though much better than Pat Boone's covers of rock 'n' roll innovators). However, Nelson made consistently good pop music - innocent, catchy, hummable tunes, bringing rock 'n' roll / rockabilly to an ever-widening audience. This CD includes 25 of Ricky Nelson's 30 songs that hit the Top 25, mostly top 10 - In that respect, the CD does not disappoint.
I've always had a pet peeve about greatest hits collections that were not compiled chronologically, and this CD is yet another of those. I've talked to many others who feel the same (also reflected in many Amazon reviews). However, I've solved that problem with my purchase of a laptop with a CD burner, and can make my own listening copies - I can now copy songs in any desired order, which is great because many greatest hits packages are thrown together in seemingly random order.
Another advantage of this, which I did not foresee, is the amount of information I've learned about many of the musical artists online while researching the chronology of their music. Wikipedia is often a great resource for this, and most famous musicians / musical groups have their own website - you can find just about anything on the Internet if you look hard enough.
Checking Rick Nelson's website (the discography section), I discovered that if a song didn't make the top 25 (of whatever chart they quoted, probably Billboard), it's not on this greatest hits package. Almost everything that DID make the top 25 is here (though 4 of the 5 omissions are top 10 songs). Also, I'd never liked the song "Garden Party," but after reading about what inspired it, I have much more appreciation for it, all due to surfing the Internet to find song order.
In case you want to make your own "chronological" listening copy, or set the playing order on your CD player to hear these songs in the order they were originally released as singles, I've listed them below, in the order they were released as singles, along with Ricky's five top 25 songs that were not included here (some, or likely all, of which could have been, since this collection is only 59 minutes long). A-sides are listed first, as both sides of many of the singles charted - I listed the date only once when both sides of the same single charted.
4/57 (#2) - A Teenager's Romance (NOT INCLUDED ON THIS COLLECTION - instrumental?)
/ (#4) - I'm Walkin'
8/57 (#4) - You're My One and Only (NOT INCLUDED ON THIS COLLECTION)
9/57 (#3) - Be-Bop Baby
11/57 (#2) - Stood Up
/ (#18) - Waitin' in School
3/58 (#4) - Believe What You Say
/ (#12) - My Bucket's Got a Hole in It
6/58 (#1) - Poor Little Fool
9/58 (#7) - Lonesome Town
/ (#10) - I Got a Feeling
2/59 (#6) - Never Be Anyone Else But You
/ (#9) - It's Late
6/59 (#9) - Just a Little Too Much
/ (#9) - Sweeter Than You
11/59 (#20) - I Wanna Be Loved
4/60 (#12) - Young Emotions
11/60 (#25) - You Are the Only One
4/61 (#1) - Travelin' Man
/ (#9) - Hello Mary Lou
9/61 (#11) - A Wonder Like You
/ (#16) - Everlovin'
2/62 (#5) - Young World
7/62 (#5) - Teenage Idol
11/62 (#6) - It's Up to You
4/63 (#4) - Old Enough to Love (NOT INCLUDED ON THIS COLLECTION)
5/63 (#25) - String Along (NOT INCLUDED ON THIS COLLECTION)
9/63 (#12) - Fools Rush In
12/63 (#6) - For You (NOT INCLUDED ON THIS COLLECTION)
6/72 (#6) - Garden Party
This music will be enjoyed for many more years. I even recently heard "Garden Party" on some restaurant's TV commercials - Applebee's maybe?
on June 22, 2008
Amazon indicates 25 tracks available on the product overview page, but they don't tell you that you get only 22 when you download the album. After you've downloaded it and discover the discrepancy you have to listen to some customer service tech in India tell you a hundred times that there are only 22 tracks, and then you have to take them to the product overview page, tell them to scroll down to the 'preview' link, then to the 'see all 25 tracks' link before they'll actually believe that you're telling the truth. But they'll STILL try to tell you 'if you click the link for the download you'll see only 22 tracks'. I finally got a #3.95 credit out of the tech that worked on me, but bottom line, WHY offer only 22 of 25 tracks for download?? Had I but seen a SINGLE disclaimer saying 'not all tracks come with download version, I'd have passed, and purchased this album from iTunes.
In addition, the bit rate varies from song to song. Amazon says they're all 256 kbps, but 2 of them are 192, 7 are 224, 4 are 256, and the remaining 9 are 320. If fidelity matters to you, then purchase the disc, or purchase the download from iTunes, and get a better quality download without the headache of dealing with some tech on the other side of the world that you can't clearly understand.
This purchase has been a BAD experience, and I'll definitely confine my digital music purchases to iTunes in the future.
on August 22, 2010
Others' reviews here of Rick Nelson's work have been near complete and quite informative. I personally have found the "remaster" quality and content of these tunes to be unacceptable in that they have "remix' and edit qualities about them that are entirely untrue to the original production. Compare, for example, the opening seconds of "Travelin' Man" in the digital remaster and original versions and you'll hear what I mean. And in many tunes an artificial stereo effect is hyper-exaggerated in that the accompanyment and vocals are too separated R-to-L. Go with a good analog-to-digital conversion of the ORIGINAL producton and not what seems to be a quick re-do afterthought.
on January 10, 2006
This is definitely not a comprehensive Rick Nelson collection, but if you don't own any, this is an excellent start. It only includes "Garden Party" from his later career. But it does bring together most all of his big hits from the early years, all on one collection. Great backing musicians, great songwriting, good period production, and a very distinctive voice that has influenced generations.
on December 27, 2005
This album contains most of his top hits and more...This disc has been rereleased,and is a perfect match to rickys new dvd release,on 12/28/05.I own both....This album is a must have for avid fifties music collectors...The disc has very good sound,and is sure to please.5 star rated i thank you stewart L.
on June 24, 2006
From 1957 to 1962, RICKY NELSON charted thirty Top 40 hits, more than any other artist at the time except Elvis Presley. Thirty Top 40 chart hits in a six year run is very impressive, considering that some recording artists racked up a possible two dozen hits over a couple decades' time span[if not more] during the Rock Era.[These thirty Top 40 hits do not include the dozens of other "45's" Nelson charted on the lower 60 chart positions throughout the remainder of his almost thirty year career, which was cut short by his untimely death in a plane crash while on one of his music tours in 1985.] Many of Ricky's early records[vinyl 45's] where double hits with both the "A" side and the "B" side placing/peaking a position on the Billboard and Cashbox Magazine Hot 100 Singles charts, plus receiving massive radio station airplay during each single's[recording] respective heyday.
While Nelson preferred uptempo rockers like "Hello Mary Lou", "It's Late", "Stood Up" and "Be-Bop Baby", his smooth, calm voice made him a natural to sing ballads. He had major success with "Travelin' Man", "Poor Little Fool", "Young World", "Lonesome Town", "Never Be Anyone Else", and "Teenage Idol", which clearly could have been about Ricky himself at the time. 1964's "For You" would be his last Top 40 hit until 1970 when he recorded Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me" with the Stone Canyon Band. In 1972, he would chart into the Top 40 one final time with his enduring Top 10 hit, "Garden Party".
25 GREATEST HITS compiles Ricky Nelson's impressive initial chart hits[1957-62] in their original alluring versions for his multi-generation fan base to enjoy in remastered sound. Nelson is also credited with being the original and very first Teen Idol, a title he occasionally shunned, and preferred to be recognised as a musician, which he ultimately was. Despite the promotional aspects of his career, it is clear that Nelson knew and loved music and was a credible performer before he became a Teen Idol, largely due to his parents' musical background. Both Ozzie and Harriet Nelson were Big Band musicians/singers during the early years of their careers throughout the 1930's and 1940's - he was the younger son of Ozzie Nelson, the leader of a big band, and Harriet Hilliard Nelson, the band's singer.
Along with brother David Nelson, the family starred in the long-running radio and television series "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" from 1944 to 1966; with Ricky's singing[career] often featured in the show's weekly themes and gaining him national exposure to his unique musical attributes. His record sales skyrocketed into the millions, and is credited with selling close to 70 million of his own recordings. I can recall seeing him on his parent's TV show reruns when I was a child, and proudly became his fan at age 7. At times, I wonder what it would have been like to be a teenager in the late 1950's and have experienced Ricky Nelson's, Buddy Holly's, etc. music eras, but, I can't complain about my teen years in the 70's, either. Many of the songs on "25 GREATEST HITS" have become staples of modern day Oldies/Classic Pop-Rock oriented radio stations. With his youthful image[he never seemed to age during his lifetime] and intriguing music being reissued in various phases through the passing of time, RICKY NELSON remains the most enduring, interesting and gifted of all the Teen Idols, the ultimate musician among them all, and he will never be forgotten.
This "Greatest Hits" really is theee definitive collection. It has 25 songs on one CD; Amazon's sale price is a relative bargain for that many songs.
This version of the "Greatest Hits" is much more comprehensive than the Millenium Collection, which was really cheap and lightweight at only 12 songs. This CD covers all of his biggest songs up to 1972's "Garden Party", which was his last big hit.
While 25 songs may seem a bit overwhelming, the songs are short and all were very catchy. These are good songs that represent an era that has faded into the past - good, wholesome, rockabilly music. Good stuff!
on January 31, 2016
He started out to prove to his girlfriend he was as good as Elvis. As it stands he made a pretty good run at it. I never get tired of good old fashioned rockabilly. It has a purity to it that modern rock lacks. Another one we lost too soon.