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Bobby Vee RIP

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The singer Bobby Vee, whose hits included the chart-topping ‘Take Good Care of My Baby,’ died today (24 October). He was 73 years old and was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to his son, Jeff Velline. Vee was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011, and performed his last show that same year.

Born Robert Thomas Velline in 1943 in Fargo, North Dakota into a musical family, he joined his older brother’s band when he was 15. After Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed in the infamous plane crash of 1959, the promoter needed a band to fill in, when it was decided that the tour should continue. The next date was in Moorhead, Minnesota and the 15-year-old Bobby Vee and the Shadows got their big break.

By the autumn of 1959 Snuffy Garrett, a young staff producer at Liberty Records, had persuaded the label to sign Bobby Vee. After several of his singles flopped, a radio station in Pittsburgh started to play Vee’s version of an old Clovers R&B hit, ‘Devil or Angel.’ Soon the single was top ten in cities all over America; it finished up at No.6 in the Billboard chart.

His next single ‘Rubber Ball,’ co-written by Gene Pitney, also went to No.6 in the US and to No.4 in Britain in 1960. From then on, Vee could do no wrong on either side of the Atlantic. He had a string of hits including ‘More Than I Can Say’ (No.4 UK), ‘How Many Tears’ (No.10 UK), Goffin & King’s ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ (No.3 UK, No.1 US), ‘Run To Him’ (No.6 in the UK, No.2 US), ‘Please Don’t Ask Barbara’ (No.29 UK, No.15 US), ‘Sharing You’ (No.10 UK, No.15 US) and ‘A Forever Kind Of Love’ (No.13). In 1963 he scored one of his biggest hits with ‘The Night has A Thousand Eyes,’ which went to No.3 in both Britain and America.

In all Vee placed 38 songs in the Billboard Top 100 chart, had six gold singles, 14 top 40 hits and two gold albums. Between 1961 and 1963, Vee had seven top ten hits in Britain and was almost never off the charts; he also had a No.2 album in the UK with Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets.

As well as touring, Vee continued to record into the 2000s. His 2014 album, The Adobe Sessions, was recorded with family members in Vee’s adobe garage north of Tucson, Arizona; it included covers of songs by Townes Van Zandt, Gordon Lightfoot and Ricky Nelson. It also included a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘The Man in Me,’ Dylan had played in Vee’s band in Fargo. In his Chronicles: Volume One memoir, Dylan said that Vee “had a metallic, edgy tone to his voice and it was as musical as a silver bell.” When Dylan performed in St. Paul in 2013, with Vee in the audience, he performed ‘Suzie Baby’, Bobby Vee & The Shadows’ first hit single.

Vee and his wife, Karen, were married for over 50 years, until she died of kidney failure in 2015. The couple had four children, including sons who performed with Vee.

Bobby Vee RIP

Format: UK English
20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. June Moorer

    October 24, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    So sorry to hear about his death, I loved to hear him sing. He was a favorite of mine

  2. Steve Hamlin

    October 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    A very sad day. Bobby Vee has always been included on my playlist . I listen to him at sometime every week. My thoughts and best wishes are with his family and close friend’s.

  3. Jd mcarthur

    October 24, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Part of my youth always be thought of rip bv

  4. john fielding

    October 24, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I first saw bobby Vee when he toured japan in 1962 at tachikawa air base.I became an instant fan,

  5. John Smithson

    October 25, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Very sad news – I was a big fan of Bobby and remember all his hits in the UK, which we used to play on the jukebox in our local coffee bar – I was 16 when his ” Rubber Ball” hit the UK charts. Still have all his hits on my PC and am now the same age as him. He lives on.

  6. Mary Lou Nelson Roberts

    October 25, 2016 at 12:45 am

    Never forget his music. These were my high school years 61-64 and he was a huge part of our music then. On the radio and at our dances.

  7. Carollynn Black

    October 25, 2016 at 1:36 am

    My condolences to the family. I was a teenager when I listened to Bobby Vee’s music. I loved his sound. RIP

  8. Tera verwey.

    October 25, 2016 at 1:50 am

    So sorry to hear about Bobby today. Saw him a few times in Sydney in his hay days. Soooo cute. Also saw him a few times later on at the Rooty Hill RSL. Yes I was that silly lady that was dancing in front off the stage the hole time. Just loved him from the very 1st time I saw him. Also I had 2 beach balls he used to kick around at Rooty Hill.R.I.P my rubber Ball.

  9. jan

    October 25, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Such great memories of this cute guy back in the 60’s. His music was the best and great for dancing. Tears and prayers for him and his family. Rest in Peace Bobby

  10. John Hucek

    October 25, 2016 at 2:00 am

    BOBBY VEE WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SINGERS IN THE 60’S. I AM SO SAD TO HEAR OF HIS DEATH. I ALWAYS BREAK OUT MY OLD RECORDS AND NOW CD’SO AND REMINISCE! !

  11. Sharon Finlay

    October 25, 2016 at 2:13 am

    I grew up listening to Bobby Vee. Great singer. Great songs. Very sad to hear he has died. R.I.P.

  12. Denny

    October 25, 2016 at 5:59 am

    Bobby was a great. I will always remember dancing to “Rubber Ball” at the 8th grade dance!

  13. Ken Junkermeier

    October 25, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Sorry to hear about Bobby’s passing. He was great. Spent ’79 & ’80 doing the Car show Tour with a Colorado Springs band opening for Bobby, Bobby Lewis & Freddy Canon on Friday night & Rick Nelson on Saturday night. Great guys & Great fun! He will be missed.

  14. Audrey

    October 25, 2016 at 7:28 am

    This makes me so sad. I had my bedroom plastered with his photos when I was a teenager. Then, in summer of 2010, there was a show at our local Indian Casino staring Bobby Vee. After the show, he signed autographs and I told him the story of kissing his pictures every night before I went to bed. He said ” Why not do it in person.” My hubby was right beside me, I knew he was happily married. Anyway, he gave me a real kiss. I was 63 years old and he was 65. It was a memory I’ll never forget. God rest your soul, Bobby Vee!

  15. Eva herrman

    October 25, 2016 at 10:43 am

    A great singer a lot of good songs that I grew up with you’ll be Miss Bobby just like Ricky Nelson

  16. Patricia Ricks

    October 25, 2016 at 11:05 am

    So sorry to hear about his passing. He was one of my all time favorite singer of the 60’s.

  17. Angel

    October 25, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Bobby vee r.i.p. I grew up with his music and still love it today as I did back
    Then, still a teeny bopper even now play em all the time ,The good oldies
    My song was, walking with my angel .

  18. Andre Croons

    October 25, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    * 24 – 10 2016

  19. James Mac Neil

    October 26, 2016 at 12:55 am

    He was great I loved his music I still have music and still listen to them may he rest in pease.

  20. Michael Lincoln

    October 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

    So sad to hear of Bobby Vee’s passing The ball is still bouncing Bobby. “Rubber Ball” “Take Good Care of My Baby” will always be remembered thank you Bobby

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