Nelson is a glam metal band founded by Matthew and Gunnar Nelson (the twin sons of Ricky Nelson and Kristin Nelson). They had a Number One hit in the United States with “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” during the week of September 29, 1990. They are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only family to reach number one record status in three successive generations (beginning with grandparents Ozzie and Harriet Nelson).
The band split with Geffen Records record label after 1995, but they have continued to produce and release albums independently under their label, Stone Canyon Records. However, they have yet to revisit the level of success they experienced during their 1990 debut.
Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, the twin sons of Rick Nelson and Kristin Nelson, were always involved in music. In the early 1980s, they joined a band called Strange Agents. Later that decade, they put together their own band (Nelson) and got a recording contract with Geffen Records. Their debut album, 1990’s After the Rain, was a success, and the band went on tour to support it. The album produced the Number One hit “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection”.
Following that tour, the band immersed itself in the recording of their next project. The result was a harder and heavier concept album called Imaginator. However, when they played the album for Geffen, the label considered it too heavy. According to Nelson members, Geffen even threatened to drop the band from the label if they did not produce another record more to their tastes.
The band spent another year recording another album called Because They Can. The label finally approved and released it in 1995. Still, the pop music landscape had undergone a dramatic change in the five years following After the Rain, and Geffen chose not to promote the new album and quickly dropped Nelson entirely from its roster. The Nelson brothers then set up their own label, Stone Canyon Records, and released Imaginator in 1996.
Despite not receiving the same level of success in the United States, the band has been a consistent seller in Japan. With their label, they have released four other albums, including a tribute to their father.
As of Spring 2008, Nelson has become a featured band on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship circuit, playing on Brilliance of the Seas among other ships. They performed for the sixth-consecutive year in Epcot’s Flower Power Concert Series as part of the annual International Flower & Garden Festival.
In addition to touring as Nelson, the brothers also perform a separate tribute act for their father, called “Ricky Nelson Remembered.”
In 2009, the band signed a new, worldwide contract with Frontiers Records, with a new studio album Lightning Strikes Twice. Other releases, scheduled with the Italian label, will be a live album, recorded during the After the Rain tour and a CD including the original demos from the After the Rain writing sessions.
In October 2010, the band headed to the UK to headline day two of the Firefest festival appearing with acts such as Jimi Jamison (Survivor), Lynch Mob, Dare, Strangeways, and Stage Dolls, amongst others.
Those who don’t believe lightning can strike twice may soon change their tune - especially if they’re Nelson fans. The duo recently released their sophomore album titled Lightning Strikes Twice, the long anticipated follow-up to their 1980 multi-platinum debut After the Rain. The record is a welcome resurgence of classic melodic rock, with Nelson’s signature harmonies accompanied by some serious “get off your a** and party” rock riffs. With a catalog of well-crafted songs, clever lyrics, and a brand new take on a classic sound, the Nelson boys are back for strike two.
The album’s first single “You’re All I Need Tonight” is perhaps most reminiscent of the songs off The Band’s debut CD, but the rest of the record is a highly charged sequel that reflects their musical maturity. “Kickin My Heart Around”, probably their biggest departure in terms of melodic structure and composition, has an edgier, grittier feel and contains all the makings of a hard-rockin’ music video.
“In It For The Money” is a modernized ode to a gold-digger, while “How Can I Miss You” features the oh-so-familiar tale of a clingy female. The song’s gorgeous guitar intro and bountiful catch phrases like “Just give me some room before lust turns to hate. I’d rather starve than suffocate,” make this up-tempo ditty worth a listen.
Nobody of rock is complete without a set of power ballads, especially from a duo with such notable harmonizing skills. “To Get Back To You”, is a classic road song with haunting vocals, co-written by Gunnar and Slaugher’s Mark Slaughter. Gunnar lists it as one of his favorite tracks on the CD, along with the songs “Call Me” (which he labels “a straight ahead Elton pop/rock song”) and “Ready Willing and Able”, a song we label “sexy rock at it’s best.”
“Take Me There”, the second ballad on the record, remains one of the most poignant tracks with its powerful lyrics and epic guitar solo. During a recent interview with Popstar, Gunnar stated, “I love to channel Brian May on that one because that’s probably my favorite guitar solo I’ve ever played. I also like the theme of the song. It’s just a very positive song.”
One of the catchier pop tracks is “Call Me”, an upbeat serenade that has Gunnar - who performs lead vocals throughout the record - singing, “When you’re done being his Plan B, call me.” You get the idea.
Where After the Rain left off with a younger, yet respectable collection of hit melodic rock songs, Lightning Strikes Twice picks up with a bolder anthology of bankable radio-worthy tunes. As the group has matured, so have their fan base - who will, no doubt, appreciate the duo’s ability and desire to maintain the integrity of their signature sound, while cranking it up a notch for posterity.