On this day in 1957, 17-year-old Ricky Nelson recorded "Be-Bop Baby" and "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?"
Ricky Nelson (1940-85) rose to fame in the 1950's as a rock & roll teen idol. Through his exposure on the family TV series 'The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet', Nelson launched a long and successful career, aided by his ace guitarist James Burton.
Ricky first entered the recording scene in May of 1957 with the release of his first record, “A TEENAGER’S ROMANCE” as the “A” side and a cover of Fats Domino’s, “I’M WALKIN’” as the “B” side. Both sides of the record were huge hits. “A Teenager’s Romance” climbed the Billboard Top 100 to #2 and had a 19 week run on the chart. “I’m Walkin’” peaked at #4 and enjoyed 17 weeks on the Top 100. Ricky’s first record was on the Verve Record label, where he signed a one record deal. He also recorded one other side for Verve and that record was “YOU’RE MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE”. Because of the great record sales of his first record, Verve decided to release “You’re My One And Only Love”, but they didn’t have a “B” side, so Verve Records had orchestra leader Barney Kessel cut a rock instrumental number “HONEY ROCK” as the “B” side. In August of ’57 Ricky entered the Top 100, “You’re My One And Only Love” was a good follow up, as it stayed in the Top 100 for 12 weeks and peaked at #14.
During this time Ricky signed a long-term recording deal with Imperial Records a Los Angeles based independent record label that had the great Fats Domino among others under contract. Lew Chudd owner of the label had Ricky in the studio on August 16, 1957. The first song he recorded was “HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU”, a song that Gene Autry had recorded in 1946. The next song recorded was his classic recording of “BE-BOP BABY”.
Both songs entered the Billboard Top 100 on October 7, 1957. Ricky’s first Imperial single was a huge hit. The “B” side “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” with The Jordanaires on backing vocal charted at #29. The “A” side “Be-Bop Baby” was a huge hit, climbing the Top 100 to #3 and staying on the chart for 20 weeks. “Be-Bop Baby” became Ricky Nelson’s first million selling single record and Ricky was awarded a “Gold Record”. This would be just the beginning of long string of hits on Imperial, 36 charted single records, that would place Ricky Nelson right at the top with the great artists in “The golden era of rock and roll.” (Info mainly from Joe Troiano's blog)