I always think about Rick Nelson on New Year’s. I remember like it was yesterday that New Year’s Eve of 1985 when my mother came in from picking us up some chicken at Mrs. Winner’s for supper, coming in our sliding glass door carrying those bags, looking white as a sheet. She was almost in tears when she blurted out that Ricky Nelson had been killed in a plane crash.

I don’t know if my memory of that is so vivid, not just because of my freakish ability to remember events with total recall and remembering insignificant, minute, details (yet, I never can find my car in a parking lot) or partly because it was the next day, I think, that my mom’s brother, my Uncle Jack, got very sick, quite suddenly and died, thus my mom and me flying to LA the next few days and being in California the same day Rick was buried or just that I loved Ricky and all the Nelsons.

I can remember in First Grade, way before VCR’s, they would show us movies. I mean, movies on a film projector. I remember (again, Rainman moment) our guidance teacher, Mrs. Smith-Neely-Edwards (she was married about ten times the whole time I was in elementary school) showing us an episode of “Ozzie and Harriet” and saying “When I was your age, I loved this show”. I can also remember thinking she was entirely too old to have watched O & H when she was my age. I bet she was all of 35 then, but, she seemed ancient. I remember that being the first time I saw the Nelson’s and I just loved them, especially the “Irrepressible Ricky.”

Later, I loved the music Rick made and how he blended rock and roll with a strong country influence. To me, his tragic death at only 45 is one of the biggest losses ever to music.

I think this is the coolest clip of Rick’s boys, Gunnar, Matthew and Sam (who, oh my gawsh, looks like his Daddy) paying tribute to their Dad with his signature song. Very, very cool. I think the Twins should add Baby Brother to their act and make it a trio. Sam Nelson could be a huge star if he wanted to be. My word, that boy has charisma.

How smart was young Ricky Nelson to hire James Burton to play guitar for him?