Rick Nelson

More Songs by Ricky

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Eight of Ricky Nelson's first nine singles hit the Top Ten (sometimes even the B-sides made the Top Ten) and seven went gold. The string was broken in the fall of 1959, and though "I Wanna Be Loved," his tenth single, and "Young Emotions," his 11th, went Top 20, changes were clearly in order. The rockabilly Nelson loved and had imitated was out of fashion, replaced by softer pop music, some of it in a neo-big band style. On More Songs by Ricky, his first album in 11 months, Nelson shifted gears. One change was probably inevitable: Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, upon whom Nelson had relied for material, had launched their own solo careers and were less available to him, providing only one title, Dorsey's characteristic "Hey Pretty Baby." Nelson's other songwriting standby, Baker Knight, had three songs on the LP, but he too was adapting to the new style. His "Ain't Nothin' But Love," like another of the album's songs, "Here I Go Again," sounded a lot like the horn-filled productions of Lloyd Price, who had replaced Nelson as the country's second biggest pop singles artist in 1959. Horns, in fact, abounded on the record, particularly a saxophone that took several fat solos. Without the Burnettes, Nelson turned back to the music of his bandleader father Ozzie, cutting covers of songs from the 1920s ("Baby Won't You Please Come Home," "I'd Climb the Highest Mountain"), the 1930s ("When Your Lover Has Gone"), and the 1940s ("Time After Time," "Again") in arrangements that incorporated not only horns, but also strings and chirpy female backup vocals. It was all a big change from Nelson's previous recordings, and it did not restore his commercial fortunes.

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