Ricky Nelson – Poor Little Fool

I just had a Ricky Nelson song not long ago…sue me…I’ve been listening to him a lot lately.

“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.

Sharon Sheeley was engaged to Eddie Cochran and was involved in the car wreck that killed Cochran and injured Gene Vincent. Sheeley suffered a broken pelvis, Vincent broke his ribs and collarbone and added further damage to his already weak leg.

Sheeley later collaborated with Jackie DeShannon on hits for artists like Brenda Lee, and Irma Thomas. 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 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. Father knew best in this instance.

Poor Little Fool featured The Jordanaires, who were Elvis Presley’s backing singers. This song peaked at #1 in the Billboard Charts in 1958. This was Ricky’s first number one hit.

Poor Little Fool

I used to play around with hearts that hastened at my call
But when I met that little girl I knew that I would fall
Poor little fool oh yeah I was a fool uh huh
(Uh huh poor little fool I was your fool oh yeah)

She played around and teased me with her carefree devil eyes
She’d hold me close and kiss me but her heart was full of lies
Poor little fool
She told me how she cared for me and that we’d never part

And so for the very first time I gave away my heart
Poor little fool
The next day she was gone and I knew she’d lied to me
She left me with a broken heart and won her victory

Poor little fool
Well I’d played this game with other hearts but I never thought I’d see
The day that someone else would play love’s foolish game with me
Poor little fool

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Ricky Nelson – Poor Little Fool”

  1. Love Ricky Nelson! Throughout my punk days, I was still very much into Rock ‘n’ Roll. As I started dating my wife @ 1980 there was a RnR revival in UK and I had bought a ‘Best of’ Ricky Nelson compilation cassette. It was a permanent fixture in my car when she was up in Scotland. (Well … by dad’s borrowed car. ) 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is awesome…it makes sense because Rockabilly was part of the makeup of punk…that straight ahead style. Punk wasn’t as big over here at the time but it did grow somewhat.

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  2. Looking at these videos, Ricky sure didn’t look like he was having much fun up there. I didn’t know his dad was a bandleader. One of those “monster fathers” like the Jacksons and the Wilsons dad? It’s a good song. He’s got a good voice. He also has the Elvis lip 🙂

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    1. What little I know is…Ozzie was the boss of course but I don’t think he was as bad as those other two…but that takes some doing!
      I know Rick was really hurt when Ozzie passed. I think Ozzie admitted that they stayed on so long because of the popularity of Rick.
      He does have a good voice…he just wasn’t taken as seriously as others because of the teen heart throb thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Over here if you watch the USA news on television we don’t to see the adverts but they play “fill-ins”. The most common one is of Pat Boon talking about Elvis and how they used to play football with Ricky Nelson. I’ve seen it so often that it makes me want to scream! However, I enjoyed your videos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thank you! Quick story about Pat Boone… My father went to school with him and he did not like Mr Boone…they got into a fight over a girl. I’m not sure who won…but I’m happy my pop hit Pat Boone!

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  4. A decent song, I don’t know a huge amount about him but would venture to say I like him more than some of the even more successful contemporaries from the 50s. I have known this song since I was a kid but I first grew up hearing the Frank Mills (Canadian) version from ’72.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a real talent at what he did but some kept thinking of him as a heart throb…he was a good musician and artist.

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