Bobby Vee, one of the leading lights of the ’60s Rock’n’Roll boom, passed away on the 24th October 2016. Vee had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2011. Whilst Vee bravely continued recording, releasing the 2014 album featuring some of Vee’s favourite songs from Townes Van Zandt, Gordon Lightfoot and Ricky Nelson. The extent of the disease soon began to take it’s toll and it was announced on October 24th 2016 that Vee had passed away due to the complications of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Born Robert Thomas Velline on April 30, 1943 in Fargo, North Dakota. The 15 year old Bobby Vee was catapulted into the main stage as a result of the events that took place in February 1959, when Buddy Holly , The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens were sadly killed in an airplane crash on ‘The Day The music Died’. Vee and his raw backing band the Shadows were given the unenviable task of filling in for Buddy Holly for the rest of the tour. Holly had been a major influence on Vee and his music would continue to resonate throughout Vee’s ’60s material and resulted in the release of a tribute album in 1963 entitled ‘I Remember Buddy Holly’.
Vee went from strength to strength in the 1960’s with a string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic, including; Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby, The Night Has a 1,000 Eyes, More Than I Can Say and Run To Him. Vee has occasionally only appeared as a footnote in the history of ’60s music often dismissed as just another ‘teen idol’. However, his championing of the Brill Building sound, pioneering music video’s and the respect commanded from fellow musicians show that Bobby Vee will be remembered as much, much more.
In 2013 Bob Dylan made the following statement during gig in Minnesota;
‘I’ve played the world and been on stage with all kinds of people from Jagger to Madonna and everyone in between. But the most meaningful person I’ve ever been on stage with was a man that is here tonight, who used to sing a song called Susie Baby’. I want to say That Bobby Vee is actually here tonight.’
Dylan had met Vee early in his career and had struck up a lifelong relationship with him from then on . RIP Bobby Vee.