By the end of 1962, Rick Nelson was an established top-drawer artist. When his Imperial Records contract ran out his dad and business manager, Ozzie, looked at all the options. Many companies were interested but Decca came in with an almost unheard-of offer of a new 20-year contract, which underlined the stature Rick enjoyed. They signed on the dotted line and immediately set out on a major recording year which saw plenty of new product hitting the market in single and album form.
The albums here, Rick’s first two for Decca, both issued in 1963, set the bar high from the start. The covers of Rick’s LPs followed a predictable pattern, with a head and shoulders shot of the handsome young man, usually safely dressed in shirt and cardigan. Decca also were aware of the need of a strong musical team behind Rick, and maintained a consistent group of musicians, producer and arranger, leading to a professionalism not enjoyed by all artists.
From the opening ‘For Your Sweet Love’ it is smooth sailing all the way, with just the right balance between instrumentation and Rick’s attractive pop voice. Surprisingly, this strong Jerry Fuller-penned song was not released as a single at the time. Instead Decca went with ‘I Got A Woman’ and ‘String Along’, which peaked at #49 and #24 respectively. While these hits weren’t quite as big as Decca hoped, the album made the Top 20. The company was up against competing issues from Imperial who were determined to milk all they could from their stock of Rick’s recordings, resulting in a bewildering choice of product on the market. This came to a peak late in 1963 when Rick landed a #6 hit with ‘For You’, triggering cash-in albums utilising the hit title from both Decca and Imperial.
Rick’s fans got another quality selection on “Sings For You”, which featured songs from the top writers of the day and astute covers of existing material, such as his update of Johnny Mercer’s ‘Fools Rush In’ which made #12 on the US and UK charts. Other strong writers represented on the two alums were Ellie Greenwich, Tony Powers, Hal David, Dorsey Burnette, Don Gibson, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. The albums also utilised the talents of guitarist James Burton, bassist Joe Osborne, pianist Roy Johnson and drummer Ritchie Frost: a winning team for anyone.