Matthew Nelson

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For the American soccer player, see Matthew Nelson (soccer).
Matthew Nelson
Matthew Nelson.jpg
Nelson on the Ricky Nelson show in 2009
Background information
Birth name Matthew Gray Nelson
Born (1967-09-20) September 20, 1967 (age 49)
Santa Monica, California, United States
Genres Rock, adult contemporary, pop, country, glam metal
Instruments Vocals, Bass
Years active 1989–present
Website Official Nelson website

Matthew Gray Nelson (born September 20, 1967) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and international multi-platinum recording artist. He is the son of actress Kristin Harmon and the late teen idol Ricky Nelson. Along with his twin brother Gunnar, he has been a member of Nelson since 1990. Their single, "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" was a #1 hit in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1990.


Matthew Nelson is a son of the American teen idol Ricky Nelson and actress Kristin Harmon. He is the identical twin brother of songwriter/musician Gunnar Nelson and brother of Tracy Nelson and musician Sam Nelson.[1]

His paternal grandparents are Ozzie Nelson[1] and Harriet Hilliard from the long-running television program, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. His maternal grandparents are football player and sports broadcaster Tom Harmon and the 1940s b-movie actress Elyse Knox. His maternal uncle is actor Mark Harmon.

Matthew Nelson married model/actress Yvette Nelson on July 14, 1995. He filed for divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court on March 10, 2009, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was final in September, 2011. They had no children.[2]

Matthew married Kari Ahlstrom on September 23, 2013. They had their first child, a boy: Ozzie Matthew Nelson on August 29, 2014.

He appeared in the film The Still Life in 2006.


Matthew Nelson plays a variety of musical instruments, including the bass guitar, electric and acoustic guitars, and piano. The Nelson brothers spent two years learning how to write songs and, in the process, met their mentor, Los Angeles record producer Marc Tanner. Tanner and the twins wrote what would become the triple-platinum After the Rain album in 1990, after being signed to Geffen Records in 1989.

Their singles, "(I Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection", "After the Rain", "More Than Ever", "Only Time Will Tell" and "(You Got Me) All Shook Up," all held positions on Billboard's Top 40 with "Love and Affection" reaching #1 in September 1990, after receiving airplay on MTV where they also had #1 videos.

When "Love and Affection" reached the #1 position on the charts, the Nelsons landed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only family to have #1 records in three successive generations (their grandfather, Ozzie Nelson, had a #1 hit with "And Then Some" in 1934, and their father, Ricky Nelson, had #1 hits with "Poor Little Fool" in 1960 and "Travelin' Man" in 1962). However, as the British music magazine, NME, pointed out in October 1990, this feat was also achieved by Red Foley, Pat Boone and Debby Boone.[1] Yet, because Pat Boone was the son-in-law of Red Foley, the Nelson family still holds the "Guinness Book of World Records" as Ozzie Nelson, Ricky Nelson, and Matthew Nelson and Gunnar Nelson are of the same bloodline family.

Nelson has also had remote success overseas (but not in the US), garnering #1 hits in Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Nelson continue to tour the world. Magazines including Rolling Stone and People Magazine did cover stories on Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, and they have performed on television programs including Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live in 1986.

Matthew co-founded the Stone Canyon Records label with his brother in 1995 after leaving Geffen Records. He released seven albums on that label.[3]

Matthew Nelson has toured extensively with Peter Frampton and Styx, as well as performing full band shows and acoustic duos with his brother. The headline shows included their own hits, as well as those of their late father. A live album, Like Fathers, Like Sons, featured Ricky Nelson's hit songs, as well as a tribute song they wrote to their late father called, "Just Once More". "Just Once More" was featured on CBS' daytime drama, The Bold & the Beautiful in a Valentine's episode aired in February 2006.

Matthew and Gunnar Nelson released a new rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock", on Razor and Tie Record's Monster Ballads Xmas album, for Christmas 2007. The Nelson brothers previously collaborated with Razor and Tie on the Monsters of Rock and Monster Ballads albums.[4] In May 2007, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson released a new rendition of their father's #1 hit, "Travelin' Man", on a limited edition compilation album, A Song For My Father. In addition, Matthew is a guest performer in the celebrity rock band, Scrap Metal, which was founded by his twin brother. They planned a tour with famous leading frontmen of 1980s and 1990s bands such as Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger and Eric Martin of Mr. Big.[5]

Matthew appeared on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s with his twin. Nelson's #1 hit "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" was voted and ranked #96 in the special, honoring the 100 greatest hits of the nineties. Nelson also recorded the 2007 American Music Awards TV show production music for Dick Clark Productions. It was the third consecutive year that he played bass guitar and recorded music for program.[6]

Gunnar and Matthew perform their own music as well as a popular touring show called Ricky Nelson Remembered.


with Nelson[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • After The Rain (1990)
  • Because They Can (1995)
  • Imaginator (1996)
  • The Silence is Broken (1997)
  • Life (1999)
  • Lightning Strikes Twice (2010)
  • Peace Out (2015)

Live album[edit]

  • Perfect Storm (2010)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Best of Nelson (2004)
  • Movin' On: The Still Life soundtrack (2006)
  • Before The Rain: The Demos 1986-1990 - 2010 Frontiers Records

as The Nelsons[edit]

  • Brother Harmony (1998)

as Matthew & Gunnar Nelson[edit]

  • Like Father, Like Sons (2000)
  • This Christmas (2015)
  • This Christmas Too (2016)


  1. ^ a b c Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 477. CN 5585. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Matthew and Gunnar Nelson". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  4. ^ Archived from the original on February 25, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "WME Entertainment". Retrieved 2016-03-13. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]