Ricky Nelson was born Eric Hilliard Nelson on May 8, 1940, in Teaneck, New Jersey. Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard Nelson, his parents, were well-known for their hit comedy “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
Nelson’s comedy lasted sixteen years, a sitcom record. Ricky and his elder brother, David, joined the cast of the program when they were around 8 and 10 years old, respectively.
Ricky attended Gardner Street Public School at this period, eventually graduating from Hollywood High School. He had an aversion to school, which irritated his dad, who wished Ricky to attend college.
He was already generating more money than most established adults by the time he approached the required age for college attendance. His wages were already about $100,000 per year, therefore he didn’t require a college education.
Ricky made his television debut at the age of 17 in the episode “Ricky, the Drummer” of his family’s program. “I’m Walking,” a song he performed on that program, was recorded and published as his debut single. It soon rose to the fourth spot on Billboard’s Best Sellers list.
His fame increased, allowing him to frequently launch music on his parents’ show before releasing singles to the general audience. “Garden Party,” “It’s Late,” “Fools Rush In,” “For You,” “Poor Little Fool,” and “Travelin’ Man” were among his big successes.
Rickey started dating Kristin Harmon in 1961. Kristin had a similar upbringing, having been reared in Hollywood. Her family and the Nelsons were also great friends.
In April 1963, the two were married. They have 4 kids: Sam Hilliard Nelson, twins Matthew Gray Nelson and Gunnar Eric Nelson, and Tracy Kristine Nelson, an actress.
Ricky’s popularity grew during the 1960s as he constantly released Top 40 songs. His popular music was in the burgeoning rock and roll genre, which led to several tours for him over the years.
Sadly, he died unexpectedly and mysteriously during one of these tours.
Ricky was known to despise traveling, despite the fact that he frequently had to fly for tours and promotions. He apparently went to psychotherapy sessions in order to feel better on aircraft so that he could continue his job and meet his admirers.
Nelson and his boys, Matthew and Gunnar, were going to fly to Dallas together for Ricky’s New Year’s Eve gig. Gunnar, on the other hand, stated that on that trip, they were meant to be on the plane. Their father contacted them soon before they were set to fly to Dallas for the New Year’s Eve event.
A few days before they were supposed to go together, Ricky called his boys and informed them that they would not be flying to Dallas together.
Ricky’s flight plan had some reported engine difficulties a few days before the trip as well.
Ricky boarded the DC-3 jet in Alabama without his two boys, and the cabin filled with smoke as the plane approached its destination. Ricky and the other passengers on board were killed in the fire, but the pilot was able to safely land the jet in Texas.
The cause of the plane fire is still unknown thirty years later. Speculation circulating Ricky doing cocaine with his then-girlfriend Helen Blaine floated about as far as the reason is worried.
Ricky’s brother David emphatically dismisses this idea, claiming that his brother has never taken cocaine. Ricky’s manager, Greg McDonald, later stated that Ricky and Helen were also asleep in the cottage when the fire broke.
Tracy Nelson, Ricky’s daughter, subsequently told Larry King that she thinks the disaster was caused by a technical malfunction.
Tracy added that the plane, also called the “Flying Bus” because of its sluggish speed, had been reported to have difficulties with its fuel heater, which might have simply resulted in an unintentional fire.
While the origin of the fire is still unknown thirty years later, Ricky Nelson’s foresight clearly helped to avert a wider family tragedy.
Ricky’s twin boys, Matthew and Gunnar, went on to establish their own great music professions in memory of their father.
Ricky, rest in peace! Let us know in the comments what you think of his life-saving insight.