Bobby Vee

April 30, 1943 - October 24, 2016

Bobby Vee Artistfacts

  • He was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, North Dakota.
  • When Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash in Iowa in February 1959, the 15 year old Robert Velline and his band, The Shadows, were given the unenviable job of replacing the fallen rockers at the next date of their schedule in Moorhead, Minnesota. Their performance there was a success and was to be the start of a lifelong career in music for the frontman.
  • Later, Robert Velline went solo, calling himself Bobby Vee. His first single, the self-penned "Suzie Baby," was inspired by Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue." Recorded in 1959, it was a local hit in Minnesota and led to a contract with Liberty Records, which signed Vee later that year.
  • Bobby Vee would go on to enjoy a huge successes as a clean-cut pop idol in the days before the British invasion scoring his first US hit with "Devil or Angel" in 1960, and finding international acclaim soon after with "Rubber Ball."
  • Bobby Vee recorded regularly until 1970 with varying degrees of success - "Come Back When You Grow Up" reached #3 in 1967. He clocked up a total of 38 Hot 100 chart hits.
  • Vee married his first and only wife, Karen Bergen, in Orchard Lane, Michigan on November 8, 1963. They had four children, sons Jeffrey, Thomas, and Robert, and daughter Jennifer. Robert performed with father in his later career.
  • He remained a popular live draw until Alzheimer's disease forced him to give up performing in 2011.
  • Minnesota native Bob Dylan played piano in Vee's band in 1959. When Bob Dylan played in Minnesota in 2013, Vee was in the audience and he pointed him out calling him, "the most meaningful person I've ever been on stage with." Dylan then played Vee's "Suzie Baby" with emotion.


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