A voice possessing effortlessness and tossed-off coolness: Rick Nelson remembered

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Sheree Homer, author of the judiciously researched tome “Rick Nelson: Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer,” leaves no stone unturned in a far-reaching interview exploring the “Garden Party” balladeer’s meteoric rise on late 1950s pop radio and unspeakable demise on the precipice of a rockabilly-fueled comeback. Seen here sporting an unbuttoned, striped blue and white shirt that perfectly complements his piercing blue eyes and pouty lips, a barely out of high school Nelson is poised for pin-up status in 1958. Image courtesy of Sheree Homer
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Every girl’s fantasy: Rick Nelson during the circa November 1971 “Rudy the Fifth” album. “One of his greatest attributes was the fact that he never acted like a celebrity,” says biographer Sheree Homer. “A person with that superstar status has every right to be elusive to his fans but that was never Rick.” Image Credit: RB / Redferns

The Complete Sheree Homer / Rick Nelson Interview

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“Rick Nelson: Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer”, a biography written by Sheree Homer and released on August 16, 2012. The cover photo likely derives from the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s 1965 “Love and Kisses” album sessions. Image courtesy of Sheree Homer / McFarland Books
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An alternate portrait of Rick Nelson from the “Playing to Win” album cover shoot, released January 15, 1981 on Capitol. According to biographer Sheree Homer — and most likely many other female fans — ”Rick’s drop dead gorgeous looks certainly didn’t hurt…” Photography by Susan Rothchild / Courtesy of Sheree Homer
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Circa July 13, 2015, journalist Sheree Homer is captured in her Kenosha, Wisconsin office. She is best known for rockabilly-themed projects like “Dig That Beat! Interviews with Musicians at the Root of Rock ’n’ Roll” and “Rick Nelson: Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer.” Image courtesy of Sheree Homer
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Rick Nelson circa 1958: “My mom handed me the 45 of ‘My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It’ b/w ‘Believe What You Say’, thinking that I would like his singing style since it was similar to Elvis,” says author Sheree Homer. “Upon hearing it I became an instant fan.” Image Credit: Imperial Records / Courtesy of Sheree Homer
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Richie Unterberger of AllMusic.com opines Rick Nelson’s decision to tackle “fruity, psychedelic Baroque production” on the non-charting “Another Side of Rick,” released on November 25, 1967, via Decca Records. Image Credit: King Bee Records / Universal Music Group
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In the words of AllMusic.com critic Richie Unterberger, “Like ‘Another Side of Rick,’ ‘Perspective’ found Rick Nelson making ill-advised efforts to modernize his sound with a more orchestrated production that often verged on the rococo.” “Perspective” came and went with a whimper in August 1968 on Decca Records. Image Credit: Napster / Universal Music Group
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The single 45 cover of Rick Nelson’s “Easy to Be Free” b/w “Come on In” released on February 9, 1970 via Decca Records. The A-side climbed to No. 48 Pop and No. 21 Adult Contemporary. Image Credit: Joel Whitburn’s Record Research
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Rick Nelson’s crowning artistic statement as a songwriter besides the “Garden Party” single. The “Rick Sings Nelson” album was unleashed on September 3, 1970, via Decca Records. Image Credit: Universal Music Group
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Johnny Cash, Rick Nelson, and Carl Perkins are photographed on September 20, 1985, inside Chips Moman’s famed American Studios in Memphis during the recording sessions for John Fogerty’s “Big Train from Memphis,” included on the “Class of ‘55” once in a lifetime album starring Cash, Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison. Image Credit: Nina’s Soap Bubble Box
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Rick Nelson circa 1960: “One day we went to Best Buy and I bought a VHS set of ‘The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,’ admits biographer Sheree Homer. “I remember seeing the ‘Tutti-Frutti Ice Cream’ episode and commenting about how dreamy I thought Rick was.” Image Credit: Imperial Records / Courtesy of Sheree Homer
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An Ozzie Nelson promotional still from the early 1940s autographed “For Bill Holden — thanks for everything. Good luck from Ozzie.” The Bill Holden in question may very well refer to Oscar-winning “Stalag 17” actor William Holden. Image Credit: iCollector.com
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Guitarist Bobby Neal, ‘Garden Party’ singer Rick Nelson and drummer Ricky Intveld browse an issue of “Now Dig This!” circa August 1985, only scant months before they died in a fiery plane crash. Note Fats Domino on the back and possibly Elvis Presley on the front cover. Image courtesy of Sheree Homer
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Nelson biographer Sheree Homer paid personal tribute to “America’s Favorite Son” in the December 2015 issue of Vintage Rock magazine. Image courtesy of Sheree Homer / Vintage Rock
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Sheree Homer, best known for penning “Rick Nelson: Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer,” visits bass player James Kirkland in California on October 12, 2007. Kirkland was part of the teen idol’s original band along with guitarist James Burton and drummer Richie Frost. Photography by Carole Homer / Courtesy of Sheree Homer
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The cover of the oft-overlooked “Intakes,” Rick Nelson’s sole album for Epic Records released on September 21, 1977. The LP under performed commercially, failing to dent the Billboard Pop Albums chart in spite of Nelson being responsible for penning two charming songs, “It’s Another Day” and “Something You Can’t Buy.” The dissolution of the Stone Canyon Band occurred the following year. Image Credit: Sony Music Entertainment
“In this cruel world of showers, you remind me of the flowers:” Watch Rick Nelson sing “I Need You,” a gorgeous orchestrated ballad recorded during the June 1965 “Love and Kisses” album sessions and inexplicably left in the vaults for nearly 40 years. Music Credit: Universal Music Group; Video Credit: YouTube user Jesmelric
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The cover of “Dig That Beat! Interviews with Musicians at the Root of Rock ’n’ Roll,” written by Sheree Homer and published by McFarland on May 11, 2015. Image Credit: Patterson Graham / ThinkStock / McFarland Publishing

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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