Colorado . . Reflections . . . Chart
The legend is that Rick first recorded a song because a girl he was dating was "swooning" over Elvis. To impress her, he told her he was cutting a record. His earliest recordings were very "rockabilly" much like Elvis's. But the executives at ABC and Imperial records quickly recognized his sex appeal and steered him towards more "middle of the road" ballads where he found great success. Also, like Elvis, Rick ventured into the movies. In 1959 he had a supporting role in the John Wayne movie, "Rio Bravo," playing a young gun named "Colorado." He recorded a song for the movie that was never used in the movie and never released as a single.

Ricky Nelson as "Colorado"

Top recordings from The Elvis ERA:

title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
I'm Walking 5/6/1957 4 15
A Teenager's Romance 5/13/1957 2 15
Be Bop Baby 10/7/1957 3 18
Stood Up 12/30/1957 2 14
Waitin in School 12/30/1957 18 9
Believe What You Say 4/7/1958 4 10
Poor Little Fool 7/7/1958 1 15
Lonesome Town 10/20/1958 7 16
I Got a Feeling 10/20/1958 10 13

My Rifle, My Pony and Me

Never Be Anyone Else But You 3/9/1959 6 12
It's Late 3/16/1959 9 10
Sweeter Than You 7/13/1959 9 8
Just A Little Too Much 7/13/1959 9 9
Young Emotions 5/9/1960 12 9
Travelin' Man 5/1/1961 1 15
Hello Mary Lou 5/8/1961 9 13
Teenage Idol 2/28/1962 5 9
Young World 3/17/1962 5 10
It's Up to you 12/29/1962 6 9
Fools Rush In 10/5/1963 12 9
Ricky Nelson
As the popularity of rock and roll increased in 1957, it got more and more exposure on television. Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" became a nationally televised program in the fall of '57. By that time, Ricky Nelson had emerged as one of the early stars of rock and roll, at least partly because of his regular exposure as the youngest son of the Nelsons on the weekly ABC television show, "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet." His first recording, "I'm Walkin'" (would reach #4 on the Billboard Chart)was a cover of the Fats Domino song, with the flip side, "A Teenager's Romance" (would reach #2 on the Billboard Chart). While many of the early rock and rollers would get a big boost from appearing on Bandstand, Rick was one of the few that never did (Ozzie knew he had a good thing with exclusive performances on the sitcom). Who else never appeared on bandstand? -- Elvis Presley.
"I'm Walkin'" -- by Ricky Nelson:
I can remember watching "Ozzie & Harriet." And I remember that my interest in the program intensified when Ricky started singing. One of the earliest 45 records I owned was "Lonesome Town" (flip side - "I Got a Feelin'") and would eventually have several singles ("Travelin' Man" / "Hello Mary Lou" and "Teenage Idol" come to mind.) But the recordings I like best today are some of his more "rockabilly" style, such as "Believe What You Say" and "It's Late." As was the case with Elvis, I never owned a Ricky Nelson LP until his pop recording career was over. Sometime in the early 1970's I purchased "Rick Nelson - The Legendary Masters Series" -- a two record set of 26 Nelson recordings. One of the best things about this album is that it contains some great examples of Ricky Nelson as a rock and roller, rather than the teen idol he became. Cuts such as "My Babe" and "Down the Line" project a Ricky Nelson most pop music listeners didn't get a chance to hear. Ricky Nelson's career is a microcosm of early rock and roll: good rockin' music, commercial success, the rough edges are taken away ("Fools Rush In" would be right at home in a night club lounge), and the singer who wasn't a song writer eventually fades away under the onslaught of the British Invasion. Of course, Rick came back and was booed off the stage in New York -- which inspired him to write a song, the very successful "Garden Party." Actually, before his too-early death in a plane crash in December of 1985 he had success with his "Stone Canyon Band" and doing rock and roll revival shows.