Poor Little Fool – Ricky Nelson

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………….on July 7th of 1958 Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” enters the US charts, where it will eventually reach number one. The record holds the distinction of being the first number-one song on Billboard’s newly created Hot 100 chart, replacing the magazine’s Jockeys and Top 100 charts.”Poor Little Fool” was written by 17-year-old Sharon Sheeley when she was still attending high school in Newport Beach, California. Female songwriters were rare at the time, and when the song climbed to #1 in the US, she became the first woman to compose an American chart-topper on her own. Sheeley later co-wrote “Somethin’ Else” with Eddie Cochran. When Cochran was killed in a car accident, Sheeley, who was by then his girlfriend, was also involved in the accident but survived, despite getting badly injured. She also collaborated with Jackie DeShannon on hits for artists like Brenda Lee (“Dum Dum” and “Heart In Hand”) and Irma Thomas (“Breakaway,” which years later became a big hit for Tracey Ullman). Sheeley and DeShannon were the first female writing team to have significant success in the pop realm. She died in 2002 at the age of 62 of complications following a cerebral hemorrhage. Ricky Nelson was a year into his singing career when this song became his first #1 hit. He was second only to Elvis among American male solo artists around this time in terms of popularity. Nelson didn’t hear hit potential in this song, but his father, the popular bandleader Ozzie Nelson, did. Ozzie convinced Ricky’s label, Imperial Records, to issue it as a single, but Ricky refused to approve a photo for the cover and wouldn’t perform it on the family TV show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Ozzie’s instincts were correct.This was the first Ricky Nelson single to feature The Jordanaires, who were Elvis Presley’s backing singers. They were not credited because of their association with Elvis. The song was also a Top 10 hit in the UK peaking at #4.