Ricky Nelson, one of the biggest recording acts of the 1950s was born on May 8th, 1940 in Teaneck. Ricky’s parents, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, were stars of the television show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Ricky grew up in the public eye.

He made his singing debut on the sitcom, and by the time he was 18 he was an established star, having hit #1 on the Billboard chart with the song “Poor Little Fool.” He was an actor as well as a singer and, in 1959, was featured in Rio Bravo with John Wayne and Dean Martin. That same year, he had six top-ten hits.

In all, he placed 53 songs on the Hot 100 during his career. Unfortunately, his career stalled during the British Invasion. Between 1964-71 he had only one top 40 hit, and it peaked at #33.

His last big hit, “Garden Party” was released in 1972 and his star faded after that. He died in a plane crash in 1985; he was only 45.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. His sons, Gunnar and Mathew formed the band Nelson.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.