I didn't know until today that he was only 15 years old when his band, including his brother, stepped in to replace Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper the day after "The Music Died" in that field in Iowa.
Yes, R.I.P. Bobby Vee.
" Pop idol Bobby Vee, the boyish, grinning 1960s singer whose career was born when he took a Midwestern stage as a teenager to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, has died. He was 73.
Vee, whose hits included the chart-topping “Take Good Care of My Baby” and who helped a young Bob Dylan get his start, died Monday of advanced Alzheimer’s disease, said his son, Jeff Velline. Vee was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, and performed his last show that year.
Vee had been in memory care at The Wellstead of Rogers & Diamondcrest in Rogers, about 25 miles northwest of Minneapolis, for the past 13 months and in hospice care in recent weeks, his son said.
Vee died peacefully surrounded by family, Velline said, calling it “the end of a long hard road.”..
The call went out for local acts to replace Holly at his scheduled show at the Moorhead National Guard Armory. Vee and his 2-week-old band volunteered, along with three or four other bands. The show’s emcee, Charlie Boone, then a disc jockey at KFGO Radio, turned to Vee and asked him the name of his band. Vee looked at the shadows of his bandmates on the floor and answered: The Shadows.
“I didn’t have any fear right then,” Vee recalled in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press. “The fear didn’t hit me until the spotlight came on, and then I was just shattered by it. I didn’t think that I’d be able to sing. If I opened my mouth, I wasn’t sure anything would come out.”..
The album also included Vee’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Man in Me,” a nod to the folk-rock legend who got his start in Vee’s band in Fargo.
Dylan grew up in Hibbing, a town on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, and briefly played with Vee’s band. Although their time playing together was short, Dylan had a lasting effect on Vee’s career: It was Dylan, himself going by the name Elston Gunn when he hammered on the piano at a couple of The Shadows’ gigs, who suggested Vee change his last name from Velline to Vee.
In his “Chronicles: Volume One” memoir, Dylan recalled 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, he saluted Vee in the audience and performed “Suzie Baby.”
Vee called his debut a milestone in his life, and “the start of a wonderful career.”
Within months the young singer and The Shadows, which included his older brother Bill on lead guitar, recorded Vee’s “Suzie Baby” for Soma Records in Minneapolis. It was a regional hit, and Vee soon signed with Liberty Records.
He went on to record 38 Top 100 hits from 1959 to 1970, hitting the top of the charts in 1961 with the Carole King-Gerry Goffin song “Take Good Care of My Baby,” and reaching No. 2 with the follow-up, “Run to Him.” Other Vee hits include “Rubber Ball,” ‘’The Night Has A Thousand Eyes,” ‘’Devil or Angel,” ‘’Come Back When You Grow Up,” ‘’Please Don’t Ask About Barbara” and “Punish Her.”..