Bobby Vee: Wikis


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For the R&B singer, see Bobby Valentino. For another 1960s singer, see Bobby Vinton. For the porn actor see Bobby Vitale
Bobby Vee
Birth name Robert Thomas Velline
Born April 30, 1943 (1943-04-30) (age 66)
Origin Fargo, North Dakota, United States

Bobby Vee (born Robert Thomas Velline, April 30, 1943, Fargo, North Dakota, United States) is an American pop music singer. According to Billboard magazine, Vee has had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.



His first single was "Suzie Baby", an original song penned by Vee which nodded towards Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" for the Minneapolis-based Soma Records in 1959; it drew enough attention and chart action to be purchased by Liberty Records, which signed him to their label later that year. His follow-up single, a cover of Adam Faith's UK Number 1 "What Do You Want?" charted in the lower reaches of Billboard in early 1960; however, it was his fourth release, a revival of The Clovers' doo-wop ballad "Devil or Angel", that brought him into the big time with U.S. buyers. His next single, "Rubber Ball", was the record that made him an international star.

Vee's 1961 summer release "Take Good Care of My Baby" went to No.1 on the Billboard U.S. listings and number 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] Known primarily as a performer of Brill Building pop material, he went on to record a string of international hits in the 1960s, including "Devil or Angel" (U.S. #6), "Rubber Ball" (1961) (U.S. #6), "More Than I Can Say" (1961) (U.K. #4), "Run To Him" (1961) (U.S. #2), "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (1963) (U.S. #3), and "Come Back When You Grow Up" (U.S. #3). When Vee recorded "Come Back When You Grow Up" in 1967, he was joined by a band called 'The Strangers'.

Vee was also a pioneer in the music video genre, appearing in several musical motion pictures as well as in the Scopitone series of early film-and-music jukebox recordings. He is a 1999 inductee of the North Dakota Roughrider Award. He is mentioned in the movie No Direction Home, regarding his brief musical association with Bob Dylan and Dylan's suggestion that he was 'Bobby Vee' after Vee's regional hit.

EMI/UK released 'The Very Best of Bobby Vee' on May 12 2008.

The day the music died

Vee's career began amid tragedy. On "The Day the Music Died" (3 February 1959), the three headline acts in the line-up of the traveling 'Winter Dance Party', Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in the crash of a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza v-tailed aircraft(- registration #N3974N) near Clear Lake, Iowa while en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorhead, Minnesota. Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee's career as a popular singer.

In 1963, Bobby Vee released a tribute album on Liberty Records called "I Remember Buddy Holly". In the sleeve notes accompanying this album, Vee recalled Holly's influence on him and the events surrounding the tragic death of Holly thus: 'Like so many other people, I became a Buddy Holly fan the very first time I heard him sing. I've been a fan ever since and I guess I always will be. I remember a few years ago when Buddy was scheduled to appear at a dance in my home town of Fargo, North Dakota. It was going to be a big event for the whole town, but even more so for me. I was anxiously looking forward to seeing Buddy in action.'

Vee continued 'The day he was to arrive disaster struck, taking Buddy's life, along with the lives of two other fine singers, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The shocking news spread through Fargo very quickly. The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance. About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modelled after Buddy's approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy's hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn't even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves "The Shadows". We appeared at the dance and were grateful to be enthusiastically accepted. Soon afterwards, I made my first record. It was called "Suzie Baby" and I was pretty lucky with it; it was a fair-sized hit.'

Vee concluded 'For some time now, I have wanted to make an album in tribute to Buddy, but I wasn't sure it was the proper thing to do. However, during the past year, I have received many requests to do such an album. These requests came not only from my fans and from DJs, but also from Buddy's loyal following - still a large group of devoted fans. It was mainly this which gave me the confidence to do the album. From "Suzie Baby" to this present album, I have made many records, but I have never forgotten Buddy Holly and his influence on my singing style and my career.'

Despite the circumstances of his debut, Vee went on to become a bona fide star, and regularly performs at the Winter Dance Party memorial concerts in Clear Lake to this day.


As a child, Bobby spent summers on the Tuomala Family Farm in Perth, North Dakota with his cousins. He lived in Beverly Hills for decades, but relocated to St. Cloud, Minnesota, then to nearby Collegeville.

Vee married Karen Bergen of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota in December 1963, and fathered three sons and a daughter. He is still active and touring internationally as a performer as of 2008, along with his backup band, The Vees, which includes his two elder sons, Jeff and Tommy Vee. His youngest son, Robby Vee, is also a recording and performing artist. Bobby Vee is a recipient of the state of North Dakota's Roughrider Award and his contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Current activities

Vee recently concluded a long running engagement at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missouri.[2] He performed in the 8:00pm 'Original Stars at American Bandstand' show along with Fabian, Chris Montez, Brian Hyland, and The Chiffons.

In October 2007 he was on tour performing in 'The Last of the Big Rock Shows' along with Lesley Gore and Billy "Crash" Craddock in Australia.


Early in Vee's career, a musician named Elston Gunnn briefly toured with the band.[3][4][5] "Gunnn", whose birth name was Robert Allen Zimmerman, later went on to fame as Bob Dylan.

In Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One, he makes special mention of Bobby Vee and shares significant and complimentary details about their friendship, both professional and personal.



SWINGIN' ALONG (1962) Lippert Films, color, 74 minutes, DIRECTOR: Charles Barton PRODUCER: Jack Leewood SCREENPLAY: Arthur Morton

A comedy about a songwriting contest, originally released in 1961 as Double Trouble. Scenes were added of Ray Charles (doing "What'd I Say") and Bobby Vee (doing "More Than I Can Say").

PLAY IT COOL (1962) Allied Artists, black & white, 82 minutes DIRECTOR: Michael Winner PRODUCERS: Leslie Parkyn, Julian Wintle SCREENPLAY: Jack Henry

Good selection of early Sixties' performers woven through a plot about a bratty teenage rich girl looking for her boyfriend. Bobby sings "At A Time Like This."

JUST FOR FUN (1963) Columbia Pictures, black & white, 85 minutes DIRECTOR: Gordon Fleming PRODUCER: Milton Subotsky SCREENPLAY: Milton Subotsky

British teens win the right to vote, so the two major political parties strive to win this new voting bloc to their side. Meanwhile, there's a parade of pop stars including Freddy Cannon, Ketty Lester, Jeremy Lloyd, Bobby Vee, The Crickets, The Springfields, Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Tornadoes, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and Johnny Tillotson. Bobby sings "All You Gotta Do Is Touch Me," and "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes."

C'MON, LET'S LIVE A LITTLE (1967) Paramount Pictures, color, 85 minutes DIRECTOR: David Butler PRODUCERS: John Herelandy, June Starr SCREENPLAY: June Starr


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