Bobby Vee was an American pop singer who was a teen idol in the early 1960s.
Discover more facts about him, here!
1. Robert Thomas Velline was born April 30, 1943 in Fargo, North Dakota.
2. His parents were Sydney Ronald Velline and Saima Cecilia Tapanila.
3. His first single, “Suzie Baby,” was written by Vee with a nod to Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” and recorded for the Minneapolis-based Soma Records in 1959.
4. It drew enough attention and chart action to be purchased by Liberty Records, who signed him later that year. His followup single, a cover of Adam Faith’s UK number-one “What Do You Want?”, charted in the lower reaches of the Billboard pop chart in early 1960.
5. His fourth release, a revival of the Clovers’ doo-wop ballad “Devil or Angel”, brought him into the big time with U.S. buyers.
6. His next single, “Rubber Ball”, made him an international star.
7. Vee’s 1961 summer release “Take Good Care of My Baby” went to number one on the Billboard U.S. listings and number three in the UK Singles Chart.
8. 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. number six), “Rubber Ball” (1961, U.S. number six, Australia number one), “More Than I Can Say” (1961, U.K. number four), “Run to Him” (1961, U.S. number two), “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” (1963, U.S. number three), and “Come Back When You Grow Up” (U.S. number three).
9. When Vee recorded “Come Back When You Grow Up” in 1967, he was joined by a band called the Strangers.
10. He also recorded, in 1961, a version of the song “Lollipop”, originally by Ronald & Ruby, which also became a success.
11. Vee was also a pioneer in the music video genre, appearing in several musical films, as well as in the Scopitone series of early film-and-music jukebox recordings.
12. He received the North Dakota Roughrider Award in 1999.
13. He is mentioned in the film 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.
14. The Very Best of Bobby Vee, released by EMI/UK on May 12, 2008, charted in the UK top five.
15. On January 17, 2011, EMI/UK released Rarities, a double-CD package with 61 tracks, many of which were previously unreleased.
16. Others included were alternate takes and first-time stereo releases as well as tracks from the album Bobby Vee Live on Tour minus the “canned” audience.
17. On March 28, 2011, he became the 235th inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
18. In 2014 he was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.
19. According to Billboard magazine, he had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.
20. Vee’s career began amid tragedy. On February 3, 1959, “The Day the Music Died”, three of the four headline acts in the lineup of the traveling Winter Dance Party – Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper – were killed, along with the 21-year-old pilot, Roger Peterson, in the crash of a V-tailed 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza airplane.
21. The plane crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorhead, Minnesota.
22. Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily assembled band of Fargo 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.
23. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee’s career as a popular singer.
24. He was bandmates with Bob Dylan very early in his career. Early in Vee’s career, a musician named Elston Gunnn briefly toured with the band.
25. “Gunnn”, whose birth name was Robert Allen Zimmerman, later went on to fame as Bob Dylan.
26. Vee and Karen Bergen were engaged July 1, 1963, and married December 28, 1963.
27. They had four children: Jeffery Robert Velline, Thomas Paul Velline, Robert Bryon Velline, and Jennifer Joanne Velline.
28. Karen died of kidney failure on August 3, 2015.
29. On April 29, 2012, Vee announced on his website that a year prior he had been diagnosed with an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and consequently would withdraw from the music business.
30. On October 24, 2016, Vee died in Rogers, Minnesota, from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.