Robert Thomas Velline was born April 30, 1943. The future Bobby Vee grew up to place 38 songs on the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles Chart. Only one, however, made it all the way to number one. “Take Good Care of My Baby” was released August 7, 1961 and on September 18, it reached the top of the charts, and there it remained for three weeks.
His first taste of fame began with a tragedy. Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens were killed in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, after a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. Vee’s group, The Shadows, then replaced the deceased artists at a scheduled show in Moorhead, Minnesota.
By the time he was 20, Vee was a pop star of the pre-1960s Beatles era. While he would never attain the popularity or status of an Elvis Presley or Ricky Nelson, during the 1960s he would assemble an impressive catalogue of some of the best pop hits of the era. “Run To Him” (#2), “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” (#3), “Devil Or Angel” (#6), and “Come Back When You Grow Up” (#3) were all catchy mid-to up-tempo pop creations. They may not have been essential to the evolution of rock ‘n’ roll but they were perfect for AM radio airplay, which was an important ingredient to music success during the 1960s.
Trivia note: His early touring band included a young Bob Dylan under an assumed name.
“Take Good Care Of My Baby” was typical of his material. Melodic music combined with easily remembered lyrics, plus his laid-back vocal were all ingredients for success.
Bobby Vee’s hits ceased as the 1960s ended but he has continued to tour since then and during the present year. At this time 50 years ago, he sat on top of the music world for the only period in his life.