Poor Little Fool

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"Poor Little Fool"
Single by Ricky Nelson
from the album Ricky Nelson
B-side "Don't Leave Me This Way"
Released June 23, 1958
Format 45 rpm, 78 rpm
Recorded April 17, 1958
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:32
Label Imperial 5528[1]
Writer(s) Sharon Sheeley
Producer(s) Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson singles chronology
"My Bucket's Got a Hole in It"/"Believe What You Say"
"Poor Little Fool"
"Lonesome Town"/"I Got a Feeling"

"Poor Little Fool" is a pop/rock song written by Sharon Sheeley. Sheely penned the song when she was only fifteen years old. Sheely had met Elvis Presley, and he encouraged her to write. Sheely sought after Rick Nelson to record the tune. Sheely drove to Nelson's house, and decided she might be able to meet the star if she claimed her car had broken down. Rick came to her aid, and that was when Sheely sprang the song on him. Sheely's version was much faster. Rick recorded the song, slowing it down. Sheely became a success, and soon after she decided that she wanted to work with Eddie Cochran.

The song was based on her disappointment following a short-lived relationship with a member of a popular singing duo. The best-known version of the song was recorded by Ricky Nelson[2] on April 17, 1958 and released on Imperial Records 5528. It holds the distinction of being the first number-one song on Billboard magazine's then newly created Hot 100 chart, replacing the magazine's Jockeys and Top 100 charts. It spent two weeks at the number-one spot. The record also reached the top ten on the Billboard Country and Rhythm and Blues charts.

"Poor Little Fool" became a radio hit when it was released as part of a four-song Extended Play 45 rpm disc which was excerpted from the artist's second LP, Ricky Nelson. Responding to the buzz, Lew Chudd of Imperial Records rushed out a single version (on both 45 and 78 rpm). Nelson objected, however, believing that the move would hurt sales of the EP. Under his contract with Imperial, the singer had approval rights for all picture-sleeve art and to express his displeasure with Chudd's decision, he chose not to select a photograph for the "Poor Little Fool" single. As a result, "Poor Little Fool" was the only Ricky Nelson single released by Imperial to be issued in the United States without a photo in a plain label-cut-out sleeve.[3]

The "Dodgers" and Johnny Angel released a version of the song in 1958 on Skyway 45-119-AA.[4] The Fleetwoods released a cover version of the song in 1962.


Chart (1958-1959) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 1
U.S. Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers[5] 3
U.S. Billboard Rhythm & Blues Best Sellers[5] 3
UK Singles Chart 4

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nelson, Ricky (RCS Artist Discography) Rockin' Country Style
  2. ^ Ricky Nelson interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  3. ^ Philip Bashe, Teenage Idol, Travelin' Man: The Complete Biography of Rick Nelson.
  4. ^ RCS Discography
  5. ^ a b c Ricky Nelson (Imperial) - Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles, Allmusic.com
New chart Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
4 August 1958 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"
by Domenico Modugno