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John Hermes

Jan 1, 2007
La Mesa (San Diego) CA
Real Name
John Hermes
Thanks for the info, John! Let me know if you happen to remember that episode. I guess I'm late to the party on this one. Seems like some of you guys are quite familiar with him.
Season 6, episode 31 - "Rick's Chemistry Grade"
There are some interviews on Youtube where James talks about living with the Nelsons.
Below is Ricky in concert San Diego 1959. He played at Westgate Park, our minor league baseball stadium at the time. In the first picture, James Burton is in the middle with his Telecaster and James Kirkland on electric bass. Kirkland always seems to play standup bass on the show clips. One of my friends here in town was actually there that day. I saw Ricky play in 1981 at our Del Mar fair. He had a different band at that point, who died with him a few years later in the plane crash.


  • Ricky Nelson San Diego 1959.jpg
    Ricky Nelson San Diego 1959.jpg
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  • Ricky Nelson Westgate 1.jpg
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  • Ricky Nelson Westgate 3.jpg
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Nov 8, 2022
Real Name
Samuel Christie
There is one episode where James comes over to help Ricky study but they end up playing guitars all evening. It is the only time I remember James having a speaking role. Laurence Olivier he may not be, but he is a brilliant player and Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer. James also played lead guitar in Elvis' stage band for the whole duration of the 1969-1977 years.
Speaking of Elvis, some of you don't know that He and Ricky Nelson were Close Friends


Second Unit
Jun 28, 2002
Going thru some of the 9/10 episodes I was keeping an eye on the closing credits music. In season nine early episodes used a big orchestral version of 'Mary, I'm In Love With You' that sounds a lot like the arrangement by Billy May used on the radio series. Several other themes were used and then around the halfway point the music most heard for the rest of the season was the 'Nelson Family Theme'. This was written by Ozzie himself (I saw a copy of the manuscript*) and it is VERY similar to 'Malt Shop Blues' which was used a lot in season 10 end credits. Both are in the same key, have the same instrumentation (a jazz combo), and basically the same chord changes. You could almost say one was an improvisation on the other. 'Malt Shop Blues' is the more familiar one because it was used more often. It is really prominent in an episode where the boys hold a party at the house, while the guys are outside playing basketball. While 'Malt Shop Blues' was obviously used in many malt shop scenes, some earlier episodes used a jazz combo playing an Ozzie Nelson instrumental from the 40s: Swingin' on the Golden Gate.
*I have a photocopy and tried to attach it to this entry but I can't find where I put it in my newly-cleaned-up basement.

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