In 1972, Nelson reached the Top 40 one last time with "Garden Party", a song he wrote in disgust after a Madison Square Garden audience booed him, because, in his mind, he was playing new songs instead of just his old hits. When he performed the Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman" he was booed off the stage. He watched the rest of the performance on a TV monitor backstage and quietly left the venue without taking a final bow for the finale. He wanted to record an album featuring original material, but the single was released before the album because Nelson had not completed the entire Garden Party album yet. "Garden Party" reached number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and was certified as a gold single. The second single release from the album was "Palace Guard", which reached number 65 in the charts.
Nelson was with MCA at the time, and his comeback was short-lived. Nelson's band soon resigned, and MCA wanted Nelson to have a producer on his next album. His band moved to Aspen and changed their name to "Canyon". Nelson soon put together a new Stone Canyon Band and began to tour for the Garden Party album. Nelson still played nightclubs and bars, but soon advanced to higher-paying venues because of the success of Garden Party. In 1974 MCA was at odds as to what to do with the former teen idol. Albums like Windfall failed to have an impact. Nelson became an attraction at theme parks like Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland. He also started appearing in minor roles on television shows.
Nelson tried to score another hit, but did not have any luck with songs like "Rock and Roll Lady". With seven years to go on his contract, MCA dropped him from the label.
Nelson studied karate, earning a brown belt before going on to learn Jeet Kune Do under Dan Inosanto. Inosanto described Nelson as a "good martial artist for those times".
Read more about this topic: Ricky Nelson
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