Rock ‘n roll legend Bobby Vee died this morning after a battle with Alzheimer’s. Born Robert Thomas Velline on April 30, 1943, and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Vee got his big break under tragic circumstances at the age of 15 in 1959. He and his band, the Shadows, were recruited to fill in for Buddy Holly at the Moorhead stop of the Winter Dance Party Tour the night after Holly died in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa.
Vee’s career soon rocketed after that as he earned teen idol fame and landed 38 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 between 1959-1970, including “Suzie Baby,” “Devil Or Angel,” “Rubber Ball,” “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Run To Him” and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.”
A knock-off on Holly’s “Peggy Sue” that he originally recorded for Minneapolis’s Soma Records, “Suzie Baby” was Vee’s first big hit and landed him a national deal with Liberty Records. “Take Good Care of My Baby” became his first No. 1 in Billboard and probably his most signature song.
For a few days in 1959, Vee employed a young Robert Zimmerman as the piano player in the Shadows, even though the future Bob Dylan didn’t really know how to play piano at that point.
Bobby Vee was 73.