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Garden Party, Ricky Nelson, Rayman’s Song Of The Day[VIDEO]

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The nicest guy I ever met in Rock n Roll was Ricky Nelson. It was a hot July afternoon in 1984, Newburyport High school. As I drove by, I noticed the front doors to the school were open, so I took it upon myself to walk in. I realized I quickly needed a” common bond” to talk to Ricky about, or a guard perhaps roaming the halls.  Being it was so hot & humid, I came up with one.  Sure enough, I got stopped by a roadie. Asking what I was doing there, I said I wanted to talk to Ricky about his asthma. I had suffered with it, and I knew he had it..that was my “common bond.” I was told to follow him, and sitting on the stage was Ricky. The roadie was talking to Rick, he motioned me over, and asked me if I felt ok? I replied by pulling my inhaler out of my pocket and he laughed as he reached in a bag on stage and pulled out his. “I’m thinking I  might need one of these tonight it’s so humid” he remarked.

We talked a lot about his early days on Ozzie & Harriet and “Hello Mary Lou: and the story behind it. He introduced me to several members of his band and road crew, and his then new girlfriend. We talked for close to an hour. He was almost exactly as you saw him on televison, a tad shy, polite, laid back with a twinge of anxiety, never swore, and just a bit self conscious.

“Do you mind if I smoke” he asked, “I’ll join you” I said as we went out back (yes kids, asthmatics do smoke) We talked about his music, rock, country, and he even enjoyed blues and wanted to record some. Down to his last Kool, he asked me if I’d do him a favor. Since everybody had left for the motel, would I pick up some things and  something to eat? There was a Wendy’s down the road, with a small convenience store and I can remember the exact order. Burgers, fries, shakes, two packs of Kool cigarettes, and Clairol # 5 hair dye.

We sat on the stage and talked right through our meal, mostly about the grueling life on the road..he was always on the road. As we became closer, he talked about his ex-wife, the debt she had run up, his parents and family, girls, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (financial)…his love of music. He asked if I wanted to see the show, and hooked me up with a backstage badge. I watched the entire show from the side of the stage, and soon after we said our goodbye..he off to the motel, me off to home. Seventeen months later he was killed in a plane crash. I still hurt when I think about him….

 

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