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Ricky Nelson Travelin' Man

Pop Music

The song “Travelin’ Man” is a golden oldie pop and rock and roll song from a talented artist. Eric Hilliard Nelson (aka Ricky Nelson and then Rick Nelson) had an amazing career as a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist , teen idol, and actor. Besides his music, he’s best known for playing himself with his family on the long-running television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966) as well as co-starring with John Wayne and Dean Martin in Howard Hawks’s western film Rio Bravo (1959). Nelson has been inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He died in a plane crash in De Kalb, Texas, on December 31, 1985.

In his younger days, when Ricky had a record out, they would work it into the plots of the TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Why not? It helped to promote the show as well as sell records. For this song, Ricky sang “Travelin’ Man” with some travelogue scenes in the background. The segment appeared at the end of an episode and could be considered a proto-music video. “Travelin’ Man” was written by songwriter, singer and record producer Jerry Fuller. It’s a not-so-politically-correct golden oldie about a guy with a gal in every port. It was originally meant for Sam Cooke, but Ricky Nelson recorded it, and, in 1961, it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, #1 on U.S. Cashbox, #2 in the U.K., and #1 in Australia. It was produced by Joe Johnson (“Tequila” by The Champs). The B-Side of “Travelin’ Man” was “Hello Mary Lou,” written by Gene Pitney, and was another terrific song, charting at #9.

Here are the lyrics to “Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson:

“I’m a travelin’ man
I’ve made a lot of stops all over the world
And in every port
I own the heart
Of at least one lovely girl

I’ve a pretty Señorita waiting for me
Down in old Mexico
If you’re ever in Alaska stop and see
My cute little Eskimo

Oh my sweet Fraulein down in Berlin town
Makes my heart start to yearn
And my China doll down in old Hong Kong
Waits for my return

Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea
I remember the night
When we walked in the sands of
Waikiki And I held you oh so tight

Oh my sweet Fraulein down in Berlin town
Makes my heart start to yearn
And my China doll down in old Hong Kong
Waits for my return

Pretty Polynesian baby over the sea
I remember the night
When we walked in the sands of Waikiki
And I held you oh so tight

Oh, I’m a travelin’ man
Yes, I’m a travelin’ man
Yes, I’m a travelin’ man
Woe, I’m a travelin’ man”

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop, rock and roll, R&B, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop. Hope you enjoyed “Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson.

2 Comments

  1. Richard Meyers says:

    As an old “60’s” DJ, I was a great fan of Travelin Man. My wife of 58 years and I have it as one of our top songs, as
    I was in the Navy.

    Can anyone tell us why the pronoun for the polynesian was in first tense (You) and all the others mentioned were in
    third tense (She, her etc). Since “her” would have fit in the lyrics and tune…we wonder why Jerry made it appear
    Ricky was singing “To” her instead “About her”.

    I have never found anyone who could answer.

    Dick –

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