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Poor Little Fool

by

Rick Nelson



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by a teenage Sharon Sheeley when she was still attending high school in Newport Beach. It was Sheeley's first hit record and during a time when female songwriters were rare, its success meant she became the first female writer to compose an American #1 without any help from a male partner.
The young songwriter 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 badly injuring herself. Sheeley 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 world. She died in 2002 at the age of 62 of complications following a cerebral hemorrhage.
When Billboard magazine printed the first Hot 100 singles chart in August, 1958, this was their first #1 hit.
Rick Nelson
More Rick Nelson songs

Comments (4):

Rick never liked the song and he never sang it on the Ozzie & Harriet show. He didn't start singing the song live until the late 70's when he started singing more of his early hits. He was also against having it released as a single but Lou Chud insisted and then it went on to become his first #1 hit.
- Terry, Ojai, CA
According to James Kirkland, Rick Nelson's bass player--Sheeley didn't quite write the song "without any help from a male partner". James said Sheeley "cried big crocodile tears" because Rick told her "I can't use this song". The song was real fast and the tune resembled "Good Rocking Tonight". Finally, to get Sheeley to stop crying, Rick said "Let me see what I can do". Nelson then tossed the song to James Burton and Kirkland and said "see what you can do with this". Burton and Kirkland changed the tune and Nelson, who still didn't really like the song, recorded it as a "B" side. When Sheeley heard it, she threatened to sue, till it hit number one. She wrote the song about Don Everly, who she was dating after he broke up with her. She later dated Cochran, who was killed in the car wreck. Finally she married the guy who started Shindig and they both ran the show for five years.
- coy, Palestine, TX
This big #l hit for Ricky Nelson was a bit before my time so I missed its chart-run. I got to know it from one of his later "greatest hits" compilations & learned to love it ever since. Some of my cousins had a real serious crush on him during the high school years in the early Sixties. And one of them was male!! Haa! Oh well, that's how it goes some times. Love the guitar on this hit & the male background singers. Weren't they rumoured to be Elvis's background singers? How did that happen?
- BubblesK, Memphis, TN
Ricky Nelson released four records were both sides made the Top 10: 'Lonesome Town {#7} b/w 'I Got A Feeling' {#10}, 'Never Be Anyone Else But You' {#6) b/w 'It's Late' {#9}, 'Just A Little Too Much' {#9} b/w 'Sweeter Than You' {#9}, and 'Traveling Man' {#1} b/w 'Hello Mary Lou' {#9}!!! (Only Elvis & The Beatles have more; each has five records were both sides made the Top 10}
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
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