It was 59 years ago Sunday (March 22nd, 1961) that Ricky Nelson recorded “Hello Mary Lou.” The song, which was written by Gene Pitney, was the B-side to Nelson's Number One hit “Travelin' Man,” and was a substantial hit in its own right, peaking at Number Nine on the charts. “Hello Mary Lou,” which was Nelson's 14th Top Ten hit in four years, gained major national exposure when performed on his family's sitcom, The Adventures Of Ozzie & Harriet Show.
Over the years, “Hello Mary Lou” has gone on to become one of Nelson's most covered songs, with versions by Credence Clearwater Revival, Queen, Bobby Lewis, Pete Best, Brownsville Station, the New Riders Of The Purple Sage, and the Seekers, among others.
Ricky Nelson's son, musician Matthew Nelson says that crew members from the Ozzie & Harriet TV show still talk about his father's frequent musical performances: “It's pretty mesmerizing and I think we meet people all the time that were watching those performances — I mean they hung out, people just hung out to wait to see if he would sing a song. And he didn't sing a song on every episode, but when he did it was a big deal.”