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Hello Mary Lou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Hello Mary Lou"
Single by Ricky Nelson
from the album Rick Is 21
A-side"Travelin' Man"
ReleasedMay 1961
LabelImperial Records #5741
Ricky Nelson singles chronology
"You Are the Only One"
"Hello Mary Lou"
"A Wonder Like You/Everlovin'"
Official audio
"Hello Mary Lou" (Remastered) on YouTube

"Hello Mary Lou" is a song written by American singer Gene Pitney[2][3][4] first recorded by Johnny Duncan in 1960[5] and by Ricky Nelson at United Western Recorders Studios on March 22, 1961.

Nelson's version, issued as a double A-side with his No. 1 hit "Travelin' Man", (Imperial 5741), reached No. 9 on the Billboard music charts on May 28, 1961. In the United Kingdom it reached No. 2.[6] It was also a hit in much of Europe, particularly Norway, where it spent 14 weeks at No. 1, Denmark where it also peaked at No. 1,[7] and in Sweden, where it spent five months in the best selling chart (July-December) and peaked at No. 2 during eight weeks. In New Zealand, the song reached No. 4.[8]

A 1991 reissue following the song's use in a TV advertisement gave the song a second chart run, peaking at No. 45 in the UK Singles Chart.[9]

The song features an influential guitar solo by James Burton, often cited by later guitarists such as Brian May. Piano is by Ray Johnson, who had succeeded Gene Garf as Nelson's regular session pianist in November 1959.[10] Other musicians on the record include Joe Osborn on bass and Ritchie Frost on drums.[11]

The song appears on Nelson's sixth album Rick Is 21 (1961).

Plagiarism settlement[edit]

"Hello Mary Lou" is similar to an earlier song, "Merry, Merry Lou", written by Cayet Mangiaracina and recorded by his band, the Sparks, in 1957 on a single released by Decca Records. It was covered by Bill Haley & His Comets as "Mary, Mary Lou" and released as a single later in 1957, also by Decca, and by Sam Cooke in 1958 for the Keen Records label. Mangiaracina would later become ordained as a Catholic priest. When "Hello Mary Lou" was released, the publisher of "Merry, Merry Lou", Champion Music (an arm of Decca Records), sued for plagiarism and a settlement was reached. Mangiaracina was given co-writing credit for "Hello Mary Lou" and a share of the song's royalties, while Champion received a share of the publishing.[12]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Corp, Hal Leonard (1 April 2004). Rockabilly: Guitar Play-Along. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9781476808611. Retrieved 18 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Hello Mary Lou Goodbye Heart (Legal Title)". Repertoire.bmi.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
  3. ^ Jensen, Lee (October 19, 2011). "Rock and Roll Heaven: How a Priest Helped Write "Hello, Mary Lou"". Yahoo Inc. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Ellzey, Don (2013). "Ponchatoula priest shares special part in Rock 'n Roll history". actionnews17.com/. Retrieved March 2, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Freddy and His Go-Cart by Johnny Duncan". Secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  6. ^ "hello mary lou/travelin' man | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
  7. ^ "Billboard Magazine". Billboard. Retrieved 2024-05-08.
  8. ^ "flavour of new zealand - Lever hit parades". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  9. ^ "hello mary lou | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
  10. ^ "Ray Johnson". Rockabilly.nl. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Rick Is 21 : Rick Nelson Records". Rickynelson.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  12. ^ "Original versions of Merry, Merry Lou written by Cayet Mangiaracina - SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Bobby Lewis - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Creedence Clearwater Revival - Mardi Gras" – via www.allmusic.com.
  15. ^ "The upcoming remaster of How the West Was Won appears to have cut some audio that was on the original release". 26 January 2018.
  16. ^ "The Statler Brothers - Pardners in Rhyme Album" – via www.allmusic.com.
  17. ^ "Queen - Live at Wembley '86" – via www.allmusic.com.

External links[edit]