In 1972, my two-year-old sister might sing every the words come this rick Nelson hit. Why she latched on to this particular song once it come on the car radio none of us will ever know – not also Julia. She would sit in her auto seat – not one the the safety-conscious auto seats these days – and almost dance in she seat, legs and arms bopping come the beat.

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So “Garden Party

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” has a special ar in my memories. However there’s an interesting story come the track itself together well.

Rick Nelson was, that course, one of two young of Ozzie and also Harriet Nelson, renowned stars of their own 1950s and 1960s television show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

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. To be an Ozzie or a Harriet, to it is in a Ricky or a David, to be a Nelson meant that you were part of a wholesome, all-American family. The Nelsons epitomized the white picket fence dream of Eisenhower’s America.

As a teenager in the late 1950s, Ricky Nelson emerged as a rock-and-roll performer, with focus on rockabilly. In brief order, he ended up being a teen idol. Though he officially adjusted his performance surname to stack Nelson in 1961 as soon as he to be 21, he would forever be recognized as “Ricky” through the numerous teen girl who had actually fallen in love v him.

With the beginning of Beatlemania, stack Nelson’s music dropped out that popularity. By the late 1960s and also early 1970s, he was still do music, record in the country-rock genre emerging at the time. But his new music to be not recording on in rather the way he hoped.

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Things involved a head in 1971 once he performed at an oldies concert at Madison Square Garden. Various other oldies artist – including Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and small Richard – play the show, which to be intended come showcase the music that a bygone era. Put on bell bottoms and a purple velvet shirt and also sporting long hair, Nelson at first played “Be-Bop Baby,” “Hello, mary Lou,” and other old hits, yet when that launched right into a country version that the roll Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women,” the audience booed him off the stage.

Disgusted through what had happened at the show, he created “Garden Party,” weaving together referrals to musicians and songs performed at the concert. In an essay because that Chicken Soup because that the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

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, his son Gunnar Nelson recalls: “After a lifetime of pretending to it is in a personality he wasn’t – attract the sweater on Monday on the set of Ozzie and also Harriet after gift a genuine rock star ~ above the weekends – he to be writing and performing for his very own pleasure and satisfaction.” Gunnar says one of his most prized possessions is his father’s handwritten text to “Garden Party,” featured at SongFacts, which has extensive lift on the song and also on stack Nelson’s career. Nelson supplies reminisces about the track in a 1983 interview.

I love the “Garden Party” speak a genuine story – and also I likewise love the it allowed Rick Nelson to gain the critical laugh. Ironically, he is really recognized now largely for this tune – a tune about not having actually his music appreciated. Though he never regained his previously popularity by the time he died in a plane crash in 1985 at age 45, it seems Rick Nelson had learned the genuine lesson native that suffer at Madison Square Garden – to it is in true come yourself and also to your creative vision.

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For me, though, this track will constantly conjure up images of mine beloved tiny sister, her huge brown eyes and also long, curly brown hair, her pumping arms and legs, and her two-year-old voice exclaiming, “You watch you can’t please everyone, so you gained to please yourself.”


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Image Credit: stack Nelson theatre a concert in Lawton, Oklahoma. Provided with permission, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ricky_Nelson_free.jpg.