Bobby Vee: 1943 – 2016

Bobby Vee: 1943 -2016

“BUZZ Newspaper Article” (#68-bV) Nov- Dec 2016

By: RLSchwinden aka: MrZerr0

Recently I was contacted by KARE 11 NBC Evening News, about the death of Early 60s Teen Idol Bobby Vee, as he lived near St. Cloud. Before I go into a brief history of Bobby Vee, here are some things I pointed out the Reporter who interviewed me. Since “Rock And Roll” has been around for over 6 Decades, there are some historical facts most music fans are unaware of; for example from 1954 to 1964 most musical artists recordings sold on 7″ Singles (45rpm), which retailed for about $0.99 cents (+ Tax) Bobby fell strait in line with this category. Then in ’64 The Beatles came to the USA & the 12″ LP  (Long Player) or Album began to pick up more in sales, the “33 1/3” retailed for about $3.98, Vinyl was the main format until about 1984 when the (4 Track) Cassette took over the market, retailing for about $8.98, this was the dominant format until 1991 when CD (Compact Disc) took over (the USA stopped 99% of all of its Vinyl production in Dec ’87), then the 2nd wave of Vinyl began in 2008 (which is why Mr. Zero’s opened in 2009) & the 180 Gram Vinyl LP pushed CD out of the predominant format. I pointed out to the News Reporter (Brian) that Vee’s original Fans would be wanting to purchase Vee’s music on CD, as they have all the vinyl they need, but newer fans would be looking for his music on Vinyl, well, they are in luck because Bobby Vee is a “Vinyl Artist”. You see some artists are simply not available on certain formats.


On with our story…

>The Shadows: 1959 -1960<

   Bobby Vee (Robert Thomas Velline: 30 Apr 1943: Fargo, ND – 24 Oct 2016) released some 44 Singles from 1959 -1971
& roughly 25 Albums from 1960 -1975 & over 15 CDs (re-releases) in the 90s & 2000s & over 26 TV Shows, Films & Documentary’s. Vee was thrust into the spotlight as a fill-in for the “Winter Dace Party” after the plane crash that killed “Valens, Big Bopper & Holly” Bobby & his brother Bill formed ‘The Shadows’ to play the Tues 3 Feb 1959 show at the Armory in Moorehead, MN. Vee’s 1st 45 Single was on SOMA Records (Trashmen, Castaways & Gestures) in 1959 “Suzie Baby b/w Flyin High” (Soma #1110), which was the record label’s 1st big hit as well, the record was popular enough locally that Vee was signed to the national Record Label Liberty in 1960 until 1970. Vee’s 2nd 45 Single “Devil Or Angel b/w Hey Doll Baby” hit #6 on the Billboard Charts in Oct ’60, followed by his 1st LP  ‘Sings Your Favorites’ While on tour in 1960 his guitar player was a young man named “Elston Gunn” from Duluth, MN.  Who later moved to NYC & became: Bob Dylan. Vee made a whopping 8 appearances on the ABC TV Show “American Bandstand” between Aug 1960 & Dec 1970.


>International Teen Idol: 1961 -1963<

In the early 60s the top of the charts were dominated with young Italian boys from New York City, Vee was one of the 1st to buck this trend. Starting in ’61 Vee began releasing records at an alarming rate so I will only be able to cover his “Top 40 Hits” & Album releases; beginning with; “Rubber Ball b/w Everyday” a #6 hit in Jan ’61, followed by “Stayin In b/w More Than I Can Say” in Mar ’61 became a #33 hit. Then a song The Beatles recorded in 1962, “Take Good Care Of My Baby b/w Bashful Bob”  Vee’s 1st #1 Hit in Sep ’61, followed by “Run To Him b/w Walkin With My Angel” a #2 hit in Dec ’61. Vee released 4 “Long Players” this year ‘Self Titled’ & then ‘With Strings & Things’ followed by ‘Hits Of The Rockin 50s’ & ‘Golden Greats’ & appeared in his 1st film “Swingin Along”. 

The next year proved to be as good as the last year for Vee, making 3 appearances on the TV Show “Juke Box Jury” stating in Mar ’62 to Nov. His 11th 45 Single “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara b/w I Can’t Say Goodbye” hits #15 in Apr ’62, followed by “Sharing You b/w In My Baby’s Eyes” in Jul ’62 which goes to #15 & the follow up “Punish Her b/w Someday (when I’m gone from you)” charting at #20 in Oct ’62. Vee releases 4 albums this year ‘Take Good Care Of My Baby’ & then ‘Meets The Crickets’ Vee performed many different tours with the original “Crickets” followed by ‘Recording Session’ & then ‘Merry Christmas’ & his 2nd film “Play It Cool” & Vee also appeared in 2 TV episodes of “Here’s Hollywood” in ‘62 where he was interviewed in his own home, also Vee beginning in Feb ‘62 made 6 appearances on the TV Show “Thank Your Lucky Stars” leading up to Mar ‘65.

On a 3 year roll, Vee has “Charms b/w Bobby Tomorrow” hit #13 in May ’63, & following this is “Be True To Yourself b/w Letter From Betty” in Jul ’63 which goes to #34, then his monster hit “Night Has A Thousand Eyes b/w Anonymous Phone Call” charts at #3 in Dec ’63, this same month Bobby marries his 1 & only wife Karen.

Vee releases 3 albums in ’63 starting with; ‘Night Has A Thousand Eyes’ followed by ‘Meets The Ventures’ & his tribute to the man who launched his career an entire album of Buddy Holly Covers on Liberty Records ‘I Remember Buddy’. This year Vee performed almost 20 shows with Dick Clark’s “Caravan Of The Stars” (check out the Film “That Thing You Do”).


>Yankee Go Home: 1964 – 1968<

Many remember “The Day The Music Died” (3 Feb ’59 Don McLean’s “American Pie”) which help launch Bobby Vee’s career, however not many recognize that the same thing happened to American Music, about 5 years to the day on 8 Feb ’64 The Beatles appeared on the “Ed Sullivan Show” because this ushered in the “British Invasion” (Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Yardbirds, Animals & Hermits, etc) & the American Music Scene was forever changed, many of the present artists (Bobby Darin, Dion, Roy Orbison, Lou Christie, Ricky Nelson, & even Elvis)  found themselves pushed to the wayside in the wake of the new British movement, unfortunately Vee was no exception. Vee did not have another “Top 40 Hit” for the next 4 years, when Elvis broke the trend in his (Dec) ’68 Comeback Special, (Vee did have 19 other songs in the Top 100 up to Dec ’68), Vee did release 2 LPs in ’64; ‘Sings New Sounds From England’ & ’30 Big Hits Of The 60s’ & the following year he released ‘Live On Tour’ after performing some 33 Shows in 1965 with “Dick Clark’s Caravan Of The Stars”. Vee seemed to be as active on television as he was in music; making 3 appearances on “Hollywood A Go Go” starting in Jan ’65 to Jul the same year. Bobby made 6 appearances on the ABC TV Show “Where The Action Is” from Oct 1965 to Sep 1966  

>Turn Down Day: 1966 – 1970<

From 1966 to 1967 Bobby released 4 LPs: ’30 Big Hits Off The 60s Vol 2′ & ‘Look At Me Girl’ & ‘Golden Greats Vol.2’ followed by ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’ in ’67 & also this same year starred in the film “C’mon Lets Live A Little” as “Jesse Crawford”. Vee became a semi-regular the ABC talk-show “Joey Bishop Show” appearing on 4 broadcasts from Nov 1967 – Feb 1968. Vee returned to the top of the charts in May ‘68 with “My Girl-Hey Girl b/w Just Keep It Up” a #35 hit, & released 2 LPs in ‘68; ‘Just Today’, In Summer 1993 I had Bobby autograph my copy of “Just Today” LP because Vee covered The MONKEES song “Girl I Left Behind Me”, followed by the LP ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ & the Non-LP Single “Let’s Call It A Day Girl”. Vee’s last release in the 60s was, the 1969 LP ‘Gates, Grills & Railings’ with 2 Non-LP Singles in ‘70In And Out Of Love” & “Sweet Sweetheart”. Vee was signed to United Artists in 1971 -75 his 1st single was “Signs b/w Something To Say” & releasing 3 LPs ‘Nothin Like A Sunny Day’ in ‘72 & in ‘73 ‘Legendary Masters Series’ & finally ‘Best Of’ in ‘75.


>Never Be Anyone Else<

The 80s were not too kind to the “Old School” musicians, Vee only had the ‘Singles Album’ released in 1980. The 1st time I saw Vee was at the Iowa State Fair in Aug ’93 on a  Double Bill with Tommy Roe & Bobby’s sons: “The Vees” Robby, Tom & Jeff.  My memory is they performed 2 sets of 45 min each twice nightly (here is a partial set-list from the night)

One Last Kiss
Rubber Ball
Come Back When You Grow Up Girl
Run to Him
More Than I Can Say (Crickets cover)
Devil or Angel
Take Good Care of My Baby
The Night Has a Thousand Eyes
Walkin’ With My Angel

Almost 10 years after his last LP, Vee releases ‘Down The Line’ in 1999, & ‘Wouldn’t Change A Thing’ in 2002.
The last time I saw Bobby was in Feb 2005 in Des Moines at the Surf Ballroom for the annual “KIOA Sweet Hearts Dance” Vee was on tour again with the Original Crickets: Alison, Mauldin & Curtis.  The CD ‘Very Best’ is released in 2008 with ‘Rarites’ coming out in 2011 as Vee retired from touring due to Alzheimer’s in 2012. Vee’s final release was ‘Adobe Sessions’ in 2014. Bobby Vee dies in Rogers, MN. on Mon 24 Oct 2016 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Truly a forgotten Hero, Vee had a tremendous musical career with an impressive catalog. I am honored I got the opportunity to meet him, be interviewed about him & write this article … MrZerr0

Mr. Zero’s *Est. 2009

1744 Lexington  Ave. N.

Roseville, MN. 55113

Mr. Zero's 55113

Promo Photo 1960



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