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Ricky Nelson Greatest Hits Songs
On The Acoustic

Welcome to my Ricky Nelson greatest hits songs page for guitar where I demonstrate how to play several greatest hits by Ricky Nelson. I'll be using some Ricky Nelson album covers images below so you can see the origin of each song.

There are also free .pdf Ricky Nelson chords and lyrics sheets available for download, rhythm tips and more. If you need full tutorial lessons, they are available for a small fee. See top menu for greater discounts.

ricky nelson best songs

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Who Was Ricky Nelson?

ricky nelson singer

Ricky Nelson, whose full name was Eric Hilliard Nelson, was an American singer, musician, and actor. He was born on May 8, 1940, and tragically died in a plane crash on December 31, 1985. Nelson emerged as a teenage idol in the late 1950s with hits like "Poor Little Fool," "Travelin' Man," and "Hello Mary Lou."

He starred alongside his family in the television sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," which contributed significantly to his popularity. Nelson's music career spanned several decades, encompassing rock and roll, country, and pop music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Ricky Nelson Greatest Hits Songs
Chords, Demos, Lyrics, Tutorials

1. A Teenager In Love

ricky nelson a teenager in love

A Teenager In Love can be found on Ricky Nelson's album called "All My Best," which came out in 1985.

The original version of "Teenager in Love" was sung by Dion and the Belmonts in 1959. It was a popular song, reaching number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Ricky Nelson's version of the song is well-known for his smooth singing style and a lively rock and roll sound.

The album "All My Best" is like a collection of Ricky Nelson's greatest hits. It includes famous songs like "Hello Mary Lou," "Travelin' Man," and "Garden Party."

To play this song on guitar, you need to tune your guitar to the standard tuning. The rhythm pattern goes like this: root down up root up down up. You'll use chords like C, Am, F, and G. There's also some lead guitar parts in the song.

Chords & Lyrics

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2. Don't Leave Me This Way

dont leave me this way ricky nelson

Don't Leave Me This Way was a song Ricky Nelson wrote for Lorrie Collins, his girlfriend at the time. It came out as a single in 1958, with Nelson playing guitar and singing backup.

The song has a country feel and lets Collins show off her strong singing voice. Even though it didn't become a big hit, it's important because it shows Nelson's talent for writing songs and working with other artists early in his career.

You can listen to this song on the album "All My Best" from 1986.

To play it on guitar, use standard tuning and play some lead guitar parts. The chords you'll need are E, B7, A, and Gb. The rhythm goes like this: root up down up up down up, and you repeat it.

Chords & Lyrics

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3. Dream Lover

dream lover by ricky nelson

Dream Lover was written by Bobby Darin and first recorded by him in 1959. Ricky Nelson also recorded a version of the song in 1979 for his album "Rockabilly Renaissance," which he hoped would mark a return to the music scene after some time away.

"Rockabilly Renaissance" was meant to bring Nelson back into the spotlight with updated versions of his old hits and covers of other rock and country songs. Unfortunately, the album never got officially released because of problems with the record label.

Nelson's take on "Dream Lover" had a more rockabilly style compared to Darin's original. It had lively guitars and a strong beat. Nelson's smooth singing gave the song a country touch, making it catchy and fun.

To play "Dream Lover" on guitar like Ricky Nelson, tune your guitar to Drop D Tuning. The chords you'll need are D, Bm, A, and G. The rhythm pattern is root up down up up down up, which you repeat. And don't forget to add some lead picking for extra flair.

Chords & Lyrics

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4. Fools Rush In

fools ruch in ricky nelson

Fools Rush In was written in 1940 and became a big hit for several artists:

  • Tony Martin (March 31, 1940)
  • Glenn Miller with Ray Eberle (March 31, 1940)
  • Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra (March 29, 1940)
  • Anne Shelton and Ambrose (August 1940)
  • Harry James (Varsity 8264, 1940)

In 1963, Rick Nelson recorded his version, which was a huge success. It reached #12 on the Billboard pop chart and #24 on the Hot R&B Singles chart, making it the highest charting single version of the song.

To play it, use standard tuning with a fast-paced rhythm of root down up down up down up repeat. There's a lead break using chords A, Gbm, Bm, E, Amaj7, Gb, B7, and A.

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5. Garden Party

garden party ricky nelson

Garden Party is a song is a song Ricky Nelson wrote and recorded in 1972. It's based on a true story from his experience at a concert in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The concert happened on October 15, 1971, organized by Richard Nader. It was called "The Rock and Roll Revival of 1971" and had famous performers like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Nelson was supposed to perform too, but the crowd didn't react well. They wanted him to sing his old hits from the 1950s and 60s, but he was into country rock at the time and played newer songs, including some he wrote himself and covers of other artists' songs.

People started booing and Nelson got frustrated and left the stage. In "Garden Party," Nelson talks about this experience and how he felt about fans expecting him to stick to his old style. The song has cool guitar parts, a strong beat, and Nelson's smooth voice. It did well when it came out in 1972, reaching number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"Garden Party" is a famous song that shows how rock and roll was changing in the early 1970s, and the struggles artists faced trying to keep up with those changes while staying true to themselves.

You can play "Garden Party" on guitar with Drop D Tuning using a root up down up root up down up rhythm pattern. It involves some lead guitar work and uses chords like D, A, G, A/Db, Bm, and Bm/A.

Chords & Lyrics

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6. Poor Little Fool

poor little fool ricky nelson

Poor Little Fool is a song written by Sharon Sheeley when she was just 15 years old. She wrote it after breaking up with her boyfriend and Eddie Cochran, a friend of hers, first recorded a version of it.

But it was Ricky Nelson's version of "Poor Little Fool" that became a big hit in 1958. It topped both the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart. The song has a catchy tune, a soft rock and roll rhythm, and Nelson's smooth singing. It's one of his most famous songs.

The success of "Poor Little Fool" helped Ricky Nelson become a big name in rock and roll. He had many more hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sharon Sheeley also became a successful songwriter, penning hits for artists like Brenda Lee, Rick Nelson, and the Crickets.

Overall, "Poor Little Fool" is an important song in rock and roll history. It's a classic example of the genre's early days.

To play "Poor Little Fool" on guitar, use standard tuning with the rhythm pattern root down root up down up. The chords you'll need are G, Em, C, and D. Add some picking to make it sound fuller, especially if you're playing it solo.

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7. Someday

someday ricky nelson

Someday is actually and old Jimmy Hodges song from 1944 and was recorded by several artists thru the years, including Ricky Nelson in 1959.

Hugh O Starr filed a lawsuit in 1951 claiming he wrote the song and was awarded a settlement of $15,000.

The Ricky Nelson version was a top 10 in the UK and in Norway. This track can be found on his 1959 album "Ricky Nelson".

This one is played in standard tuning using the E, A, B7, Am, Db7, Gbm, Gb and E7. The rhythm is a steady up and down to duplicate the down-strokes of the piano. There is a bit of lead blended into the rhythm.

Chords & Lyrics

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8. Travelin Man By Ricky Nelson

travelin man ricky nelson

Travelin Man was recorded by Ricky Nelson in 1961, and it quickly became one of his biggest hits.

The song has a catchy tune, a gentle beat, and Nelson's smooth singing. It's about a man who travels a lot but feels lonely and misses home. The lyrics are simple but touch on feelings of wanderlust and homesickness that many people can relate to.

Jerry Fuller wrote "Travelin' Man" specifically for Nelson while working at Imperial Records, Nelson's label at the time. Joe Johnson produced the song.

When it came out, "Travelin' Man" became a huge hit, reaching number one on both the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart. It's still one of Nelson's most popular songs and has been covered by many other artists. Overall, "Travelin' Man" is a classic example of Ricky Nelson's gentle rock and roll style. It's a beloved song in music history.

Neil Sedaka mentioned using some of the chord progressions for his song "Calendar Girl."

You can listen to "Travelin' Man" on the album "Rick Is 21." To play it on guitar, use standard tuning and the chords D, Bm, A, D7, G, Gm, Gbm, E7. The rhythm pattern is root down up down up root up down up, which you repeat. Add some lead guitar picking to make it sound even better.

Chords & Lyrics

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Thanks for dropping in to my Ricky Nelson greatest hits songs page and I hope some of the info here was useful for you in learning some music by Ricky Nelson on guitar.

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Ricky Nelson Documentary

What happened to Ricky Nelson? He was a teenage star of course who was born in 1940 and grew up as a teenager in the 1950's and as a teen actor at age 8 with his family members on the TV show "The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet".

Is Ricky Nelson still alive? No he isn't. When did Ricky Nelson die? He died on New Years Eve, Dec 31st 1980 in a plane crash. Who died with Ricky Nelson? I don't have their names but 7 others perished in the crash but the two pilots survived.

Where is Ricky Nelson buried? He is buried in the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Top Hits Of The 50s
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