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Inspired at the age of seven when he saw Gene Krupa perform, Nelson asked for a drum set for his next Christmas present. Unlike most kids who get a drum set, he stuck with it, and by the time he was in high school, he was working as a session man with Gene Vincent, the Teddy Bears, and other early rock acts. In 1959, he cut a single, "Teen Beat," for Original Sound that reached #5 in the U.S. and Britain. Lew Chudd signed him to Imperial Records, and he produced a steady stream of albums as well as another Top 10 hit, "Let There Be Drums" (1961), over the next six years--despite losing his left foot in a car wreck in 1962. A pre-stardom Glen Campbell played guitar on many of Nelson's sessions, as did Carol Kaye, and other ace session players.
Although Imperial over-recorded Nelson, particularly after the label was bought by Liberty Records, and Nelson grew tired of the formula, so of his later albums are the most fun. Boss Beat includes the one go-go version of "The Third Man Theme,", and as with many of the Ventures' recordings of the same period, the original numbers (like "Cheetah Beat") are much better than the cover tunes.
Nelson now runs his own company, Veebltronics, specializing in tracks and MIDI files of Nelson's drumming. He also plays and tours with the James Quill Smith Band and can be contacted through the band's PR contact.
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