August 22, 2008

Let's talk about the song "Hello Mary Lou."

Queen sang it:



So did Led Zeppelin. Not to mention The New Riders of the Purple Sage.

But Ricky Nelson was first (and handsomest)(and not grunge, despite all those plaid flannel shirts):

42 comments:

Meade said...

You would not believe the handfuls of nickels people have thrown at me, saying, "Meade, you are about as handsome as that dreamboat, Rick Nelson. Now knock yourself out picking up all those nickels."

ricpic said...

Ricky Nelson was dreamy
Ricky Nelson was creamy
He made Mary Lou's knees go all wobbly.

Standing next to sweet Ricky
Mary Lou went all drippy
Ma's warnings were so much gobbly gobbly.

Trooper York said...

He did a stand up job in Rio Lobo and was so cute that Angie Dickinson popped his cherry.

He was one lucky dude.

Until his last ride.

Trooper York said...

Nobody ever had a better first ride or a worst last ride. Just goes to show ya.

ricpic said...

Damn, gobbly gookly woulda been better.

ricpic said...

Angie Dickinson was his first ride? All downhill from there.

rhhardin said...

Wondering if John Dowland had any Mary Lou songs.

No, but they released the very first Julian Bream Lute Album, my favorite in the late 50s, that drove me to learn the lute.

here

Click on some of those lute samples.

They also added a couple later albums on guitar, less interesting.

Guitar is much easier.

There's my childhood.

TitusStagLeap said...

Do you know Professor Thomas Holbrook from the University of Wisconsin? He was just interviewed on CNN.

ron st.amant said...

It's post like this that make me remember how much of my love of music I owe to my parents. Going through their record collection in the late 70s was like spending time in heaven.

My Mom loved Ricky Nelson, the Everly Brothers and my Dad loved Elvis, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra among many, many others.

When my Dad was in the Navy, he'd dub all his vinyl records onto reel-to-reel because they were better to listen to at sea.

There was always music in my house as a child.

FWIW, thanks Ann, for this post, it made me misty-eyed in a good way.

TitusStagLeap said...

Someone at the dog park has a dog named Ricky Nelson.

TitusStagLeap said...

That professor that was on CNN looks very Wisconsin.

Seven Machos said...

More cowbell, Ricky!

Michael_H said...

Ricky Nelson was great. he died in a crappy airplane on his way to yet another bad gig.

Ozzie Nelson, Ricky's television and real life dad was more than was ever shown on television. Ozzie was an eagle scout and later quarterback at Rutgers. Before televison he was jazz musician, a sax player of some substantial ability. Harriet was the singer in the band.

The best bio of Ozzie Nelson is by Harvey Pekar in American Splendor, illustrated by Gary Drumm.

By all means, buy American Splendor, then rent the DVD. then rent the Crumb DVD. A weekend's worth of incredible reading/viewing.

kynefski said...
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Seven Machos said...

I myself come from the generation that enjoyed Matthew and Gunnar Nelson and their smash hit "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection."

kynefski said...

Do you really think that Ricky Nelson is more handsome than Robert Plant? I mean, I'm a man, so maybe I don't know, but were you to ask me whom I would prefer to look like...

Seven Machos said...

I don't know that I would prefer to look like Robert Plant. However, I wouldn't mind having the sexual advantages that certainly came with his career. At least for awhile.

reader_iam said...

Love the tags, btw; btw, love 'em even more now than when I first saw this post.

paul a'barge said...

I think Ricky Nelson wrote that song, is that correct?

Hey, if you lurve Ricky Nelson, you'll LURVE this.

Modern Otter said...

Of all the teen-idol types of the era, Ricky is just about the only one worth paying attention to, give or take Dion DiMucci (funny recent link). Top-drawer band too, thanks to James Burton and Joe Osborn. That said, "HML" is maybe my least favorite of his hits. My favorite (a much later take).

I'm now plenty old enough to appreciate Harriet's hotness!

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you really think that Ricky Nelson is more handsome than Robert Plant?"

Are you kidding? Ricky Nelson is absolutely adorable, to the point where it takes a long time to become aware of how beautifully excellent his singing is. Robert Plant is barely in the category of good looking. I can see how you might think Ricky is too beautiful to convey sexuality or something.

Ann Althouse said...

Paul:

1. No. Gene Pitney wrote it.

2. Everyone knows what that is.

Ann Althouse said...

I love Dion and have since maybe 1962.

I saw him in concert here in Madison, in the 80s, and it was the most entertaining concert I've seen in my life. He sang great, had fabulous charisma, and he told really funny stories between the songs.

(The concert was at Headliners... for you old Madison people.)

Andy Vance said...

Country music legends The Oak Ridge Boys also count "Mary Lou" as one of their staples; Their version is reminiscent of the Ricky Nelson arrangement, but with the added thunder of Richard Sterban's amazing bass line. That guy can really whomp a set of subwoofers...

yclipse said...

Andy, don't you mean the Statler Brothers and Harold Reid?

clarenancy said...

Re: Ricky vs. Robert -

Let me preface this with the admission of Robert was my fave growing up. He was at the top of his game when I was a young teen girl.

Ricky is far more handsome. Robert has more sex appeal. They are two very different things.

Ricky, you'd want to bring home to mom and father your children.

Robert, you'd want to get freaky with on a wild weekend.

Ricky really was better-than-Elvis handsome. And dreamy!

May favorite Ricky Nelson song is Garden Party. It's message gave me strength to combat silly peer pressure as a kid. "Can't please everyone, but you've got to please yourself."

Funny how we our minds grab songs as little anthems and inspiration.

On a side note, I miss the old style tendency to allude to sex without spelling out every sweaty act in stark detail.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's Ricky singing "Hello Mary Lou" in 1985, the year he died. Interesting to see him older and wearing 80s clothes and hair. He does it well!

Don said...

Some rock trivia - the lead guitar player on Nelson's left is James Burton (I think) who went on to become Elvis' lead about 10 yrs later.

M. Simon said...

I'm a guy and I ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Ann.

But yeah. Ricky brings back memories. However, Garden Party is my fave. Look forward. Don't look back.

Richard Fagin said...

A lot of Ricky Nelson's work didn't make it to the nostalgia craze of the 1970s and so was never played on "oldies" stations. Most of his recordings have been all but forgotten. Go through his early work sometime and you'll see how good he really was: "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It", "I've Got a Feeling", "I've Been Thinkin", "Cindy", even "I'm Walkin" (peace, Fats).

The '59 'vette has long since been replaced, and the driver's hair went gray, but put the top down, crank those up and you can't help but smile and drive too fast. Grunge won't make you do that. For that matter, neither will Led Zeppelin.

DADvocate said...

Loved Ricky Nelson when I was a kid, but not as much as my sister did. We had the 45 with Mary Lou on one side and Traveling Man on the other. We'd watch the Ozzie and Harriet Show just to see Ricky perform at the end.

ted said...

A few things about Ricky Neslon some may know, some may not. Ricky Nelson became a musician to get girls. True. A g/f of his was enamored with Elvis. When Ricky said he could make a record too, she laughed. Ricky's first gig, helped along by his father, was at Knotts Berry Farm.

Second, Ricky wrote "Garden Party" after performing at Madison Square Garden in an Oldies show. He broke out in "Honky Tonk Man" and got booed off the stage. Seemed the audience didn't come to hear him perform a Stones song.

I had the pleasure of hearing him perform at MSG for the first time after his booing, many years later. This time he played "Honky Tonk" and got a standing ovation.

I agree, he is really an underappreciated member of the Oldies crew.

George said...
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George said...

sorry about that-

simon: ann is hot!-

ann: no, not everyone knows what that is-

michele said...

Ricky Nelson is cute. Robert Plant *was* hot. There's a difference. But Nelson's could melt me in a way Plant's never could.

I love this song, it reminds me so much of my childhood kitchen, with the radio always playing and my mother always singing as she cooked.

Graham Powell said...

That's one of those songs that sounds great no matter how you play it. And Ricky's voice is outstanding.

Re: James Burton, he has a bar in Shreveport, Louisiana, and still gets up and plays with the band from time to time. He hasn't lost his touch.

Zeb Quinn said...

Ricky Nelson was always seriously underrated as a musician and musical performer.

Andy Vance said...

yclipse - Good point; how embarrassing of me to mix them up... Truthfully though I do it all the time. But, two great bands though. Listen to Sterban on Dream On from the Oaks and you'll get what I mean. I interviewed him over the phone a few weeks ago and the distortion on the low end was really something.

flenser said...

What a fabulous live band Queen were. I don't even listen to their stuff much normally, but their concerts on youtube are amazing. One of the very rare groups that sound better on stage than in the studio.

Gary Rosen said...

A couple people here have already noted the guitar player in the background, legendary session man James Burton. Before his lengthy stint with Nelson, Burton played the blistering lead on the original Dale Hawkins version of "Suzie Q", also covered by CCR. He was about 15 years old at the time.

Ann Althouse said...

Ah. Interesting. There's no better record than "Suzie Q."

Buck Raye said...

It never fails to amaze me, how so much credit is given to James Burton for his great guitar licks on Rickys' recordings, well deserved of course. However the guitarist who put Ricky on the map was the legendary picker, the late Joe Maphis, just listen to " Poor Little Fool or the very early recordings. The story I heard, Joe Maphis was doing a lot film score work and since Ricky had a hit record. he needed to go on the road to promote it and Joe had prior commitments for lucrative film work and couldn't get away, so James was recruited for the job, and the rest is history.

Regardless, Ricky Nelson brought something very special to pop music and I hope it always remains with us. He was one of the best.