Bobby Vee Biography

Robert Thomas Velline, 30 April 1943, Fargo, North Dakota, USA. Vee’s first exposure to the rock ‘n’ roll scene occurred in macabre circumstances when his group, the Shadows, deputized for Buddy Holly after the singer was killed in an air crash in February 1959. Soon after, Vee’s group were discovered by famed producer Snuff Garrett and saw their independent record ‘Suzie Baby’ released on a major label, Liberty Records.

Vee was subsequently groomed as a soloist, his college-boy looks and boy-next-door persona cleverly combined with a canon of teenage anthems provided by Brill Building songwriters. One of his first recordings was a cover of Adam Faith’s ‘What Do You Want?’, which failed to emulate the British artist’s UK chart-topping success. After charting in the US Top 10 with a revival of the Clovers’ 1956 hit ‘Devil Or Angel’, Vee found transatlantic success via the infectious, if lyrically innocuous, ‘Rubber Ball’. Between 1961 and 1962, he peaked with a series of infectious hits including ‘More Than I Can Say’, ‘How Many Tears’, ‘Take Good Care Of My Baby’ (a US number 1), ‘Run To Him’, ‘Please Don’t Ask About Barbara’, and ‘Sharing You’. The imaginatively titled ‘The Night Has A Thousand Eyes’ proved his most enduring song and reached the US Top 3.

Like many American teen-orientated artists, Vee’s appeal waned following the arrival of the Beatles and the beat group explosion. He did manage a couple of film appearances (Just For Fun and C’mon, Let’s Live A Little) before the hit bubble burst. While Beatlemania raged, he reverted to the work of his original inspiration, Buddy Holly. Both Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets and Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures were promoted by touring. In 1967, Vee returned to the US Top 5 with ‘Come Back When You Grow Up’. An attempt to fashion a more serious image prompted Vee to revert to his real name for 1972’s Nothing Like A Sunny Day. The experiment was short-lived, however, and Vee later contented himself with regular appearances at rock ‘n’ roll revival shows and to record new material in the style of Holly.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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