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For the R&B singer, see Bobby Valentino. For another 1960s singer, see Bobby Vinton. For the porn actor see Bobby Vitale

Bobby Vee (born Robert Thomas Velline, April 30 1943, Fargomarker, North Dakotamarker, United Statesmarker) is an Americanmarker pop music singer. According to Billboard magazine, Vee has had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.


Vee's 1961 summer release "Take Good Care of My Baby" went to No.1 on the Billboard U.S. listings and number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. Known primarily as a performer of Brill Buildingmarker pop material, he went on to record a string of international hits in the 1960s, including "Devil or Angel" (U.S. #6), "Rubber Ball" (1961) (U.S. #6), "More Than I Can Say" (1961) (U.K. #4), "Run To Him" (1961) (U.S. #2), "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (1963) (U.S. #3), and "Come Back When You Grow Up" (U.S. #3). When Vee recorded "Come Back When You Grow Up" in 1967, he was joined by a band called 'The Strangers'.

His first single was "Suzie Baby", an original song penned by Vee which nodded towards Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" for the Minneapolismarker-based Soma Records in 1959; it drew enough attention and chart action to be purchased by Liberty Records, which signed him to their label later that year. His follow-up single, a cover of Adam Faith's UK Number 1 "What Do You Want?" charted in the lower reaches of Billboard in early 1960; however, it was his fourth release, a revival of The Clovers' doo-wop ballad "Devil or Angel", that brought him into the big time with U.S. buyers. His next single, "Rubber Ball", was the record that made him an international star.

Vee was also a pioneer in the music video genre, appearing in several musical motion pictures as well as in the Scopitone series of early film-and-music jukebox recordings. He is a 1999 inductee of the North Dakotamarker Roughrider Award. He is mentioned in the movie No Direction Home, regarding his brief musical association with Bob Dylan and Dylan's suggestion that he was 'Bobby Vee' after Vee's regional hit.

EMI/UK released 'The Very Best of Bobby Vee' on May 12 2008.

The day the music died

Vee's career began amid tragedy. On "The Day the Music Diedmarker" (3 February 1959), the three headline acts in the line-up of the traveling 'Winter Dance Party', Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper were killed in the crash of "American Pie" (a 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza v-tailed aircraft - registration #N3974N) near Clear Lakemarker, Iowamarker while en route to the next show on the tour itinerary in Moorheadmarker, Minnesotamarker. Velline, then aged 15, and a hastily-assembled band of Fargo, North Dakota schoolboys calling themselves The Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee's career as a popular singer.

In 1963, Bobby Vee released a tribute album on Liberty Records called "I Remember Buddy Holly". In the sleeve notes accompanying this album, Vee recalled Holly's influence on him and the events surrounding the tragic death of Holly thus: 'Like so many other people, I became a Buddy Holly fan the very first time I heard him sing. I've been a fan ever since and I guess I always will be. I remember a few years ago when Buddy was scheduled to appear at a dance in my home town of Fargo, North Dakota. It was going to be a big event for the whole town, but even more so for me. I was anxiously looking forward to seeing Buddy in action.'

Vee continued 'The day he was to arrive disaster struck, taking Buddy's life, along with the lives of two other fine singers, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. The shocking news spread through Fargo very quickly. The local radio station broadcast a plea for local talent to entertain at the scheduled dance. About a week before this, I had just organized a vocal and instrumental group of five guys. Our style was modelled after Buddy's approach and we had been rehearsing with Buddy's hits in mind. When we heard the radio plea for talent, we went in and volunteered. We hadn't even named the group up to that time, so we gave ourselves a name on the spot, calling ourselves "The Shadows". We appeared at the dance and were grateful to be enthusiastically accepted. Soon afterwards, I made my first record. It was called "Suzie Baby" and I was pretty lucky with it; it was a fair-sized hit.'

Vee concluded 'For some time now, I have wanted to make an album in tribute to Buddy, but I wasn't sure it was the proper thing to do. However, during the past year, I have received many requests to do such an album. These requests came not only from my fans and from DJs, but also from Buddy's loyal following - still a large group of devoted fans. It was mainly this which gave me the confidence to do the album. From "Suzie Baby" to this present album, I have made many records, but I have never forgotten Buddy Holly and his influence on my singing style and my career.'

Despite the circumstances of his debut, Vee went on to become a bona fide star, and regularly performs at the Winter Dance Party memorial concerts in Clear Lake to this day.


As a child Bobby spent summers on the Tuomala Family Farm in Perth, North Dakota, with his cousins. He lived in Beverly Hills, California, for decades, but relocated to St. Cloud, Minnesotamarker, and later to nearby Collegeville

Vee married Karen Bergen of Detroit Lakes, MN, in December 1963, and fathered three sons and a daughter. He is still active and touring internationally as a performer , along with his backup band, The Vees, which includes his two elder sons, Jeff and Tommy Vee. His youngest son, Robby Vee, is also a recording and performing artist. Bobby Vee is a recipient of the state of North Dakota's Roughrider Award and his contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Current activities

Vee recently concluded a long running engagement at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missourimarker. He performed in the 8:00pm 'Original Stars at American Bandstand' show along with Fabian, Chris Montez, Brian Hyland, and The Chiffons.

In October 2007 he was on tour performing in 'The Last of the Big Rock Shows' along with Lesley Gore and Billy "Crash" Craddock in Australia.


Early in Vee's career, a musician named Elston Gunn briefly toured with the band. "Gunn", whose birth name was Robert Allen Zimmerman, later went on to fame as Bob Dylan.

In Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles, Volume One, he makes special mention of Bobby Vee and shares significant and complimentary details about their friendship, both professional and personal.


"The Very Best of Bobby Vee" (12 May 2008) has been certified silver in the UK.

Chart singles

Year of release Title Label Chart Positions
U.S. Billboard Pop Chart U.S. Billboard AC UK Singles Chart U.S. Billboard R&B Chart Cashbox Singles Charts
1959 "Suzie Baby"
B-side: "Flyin' High"
Soma 1110
Liberty 55208
77 -- -- -- --
1960 "What Do You Want"
B-side: "My Love Loves Me"
Liberty 55234 93 -- -- -- --
"One Last Kiss"
B-side: "Laurie"
Liberty 55251 112 -- -- -- 91
"Devil or Angel" / Liberty 55270 6 -- -- 22 4
"Since I Met You Baby" 81 -- -- -- --
"Rubber Ball"
B-side: "Everyday"
Liberty 55287 6 -- 4 -- 6
1961 "Stayin' In" / Liberty 55296 33 -- -- -- 32
"More Than I Can Say" 61 -- 4 -- 48
"How Many Tears" / Liberty 55325 63 -- 10 -- 43
"Baby Face" 119 -- -- -- 97
"Take Good Care of My Baby"
B-side: "Bashful Bob"
Liberty 55354 1 -- 3 -- 1
"Run To Him" / Liberty 55388 2 -- 6 -- 4
"Walkin' With My Angel" 53 -- -- -- 89
1962 "Please Don't Ask About Barbara" / Liberty 55419 15 -- 29 -- 18
"I Can't Say Goodbye" 92 -- -- -- 90
"Sharing You"
B-side: "In My Baby's Eyes"
Liberty 55451 15 -- 10 -- 20
"Punish Her" / Liberty 55479 20 -- -- -- 32
"Someday (When I'm Gone From You)" 99 -- -- -- --
"The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" / Liberty 55521 3 2 3 8 4
1963 "Anonymous Phone Call" 110 -- -- -- --
B-side: "Bobby Tomorrow"
Liberty 55530 13 5 -- -- 15
"Be True To Yourself" / Liberty 55581 34 -- -- -- 36
"A Letter From Betty" 85 -- -- -- 100
"Never Love a Robin" / Liberty 55636 99 -- -- -- --
"Yesterday and You" 55 -- -- -- 53
1964 "Stranger In Your Arms"
B-side: "1963"
Liberty 55654 83 -- -- -- 90
"I'll Make You Mine"
B-side: "She's Sorry"
Liberty 55670 52 -- -- -- 54
"Hickory, Dick And Doc"
B-side: "I Wish You Were Mine Again"
Liberty 55700 52 -- -- -- 81
"Where Is She"
B-side: "How To Make A Farewell"
Liberty 55726 120 -- -- -- --
1965 "Every Little Bit Hurts" / Liberty 55751 84 -- -- -- 89
"Pretend You Don't See Her" 97 -- -- -- 80
"Cross My Heart"
B-side: "This Is The End"
Liberty 55761 99 -- -- -- --
"Keep On Trying"
B-side: "You Won't Forget Me"
Liberty 55790 85 -- -- -- 84
"Run Like The Devil"
B-side: "Take A Look Around Me"
Liberty 55828 124 -- -- -- --
1966 "A Girl I Used To Know"
B-side: "Gone"
Liberty 55854 133 -- -- -- --
"Look at Me Girl"
B-side: "Save a Love"
Liberty 55877 52 -- -- -- 67
1967 "Come Back When You Grow Up"
Original B-side: "That's All In The Past"
B-side on later pressings: "Swahili Serenade"

Liberty 55964 3 -- -- -- 3
"Beautiful People"
B-side: "I May Be Gone"
Liberty 56009 37 -- -- -- 27
1968 "Maybe Just Today"
B-side: "You're A Big Girl Now"
Liberty 56014 46 -- -- -- 38
"Medley: My Girl/Hey Girl"
B-side: "Just Keep It Up (And See What Happens)"
Liberty 56033 35 -- -- -- 17
"Do What You Gotta Do"
B-side: "Thank You"
Liberty 56057 83 -- -- -- 65
"I'm Lookin' Into Someone To Love Me"
B-side: "Thank You"
Liberty 56080 98 -- -- -- 92
1969 "Let's Call It A Day Girl"
B-side: "I'm Gonna Make It Up To You"
Liberty 56124 92 -- -- -- 97
1970 "In And Out Of Love"
B-side: "Electric Trains And You"
Liberty 56149 111 -- -- -- --
"Sweet Sweetheart"
B-side: "Rock and Roll Music and You"
Liberty 56208 88 -- -- -- 94


Note: Cashbox featured separate charts for stereo and mono albums until 1965 when both charts were merged into one

Release date Album w/featured charted hits indicated
Note: Greatest hits albums and compilations only show album debut hits
Label Chart Positions
Billboard Cashbox Mono Cashbox Stereo
1960 Bobby Vee Sings Your Favorites
"Devil Or Angel", "Since I Met You Baby"
Liberty LRP-3165 (Mono)/LST-7165 (Stereo) -- -- --
3/61 Bobby Vee
"One Last Kiss", "Rubber Ball", "Stayin' In",
"More Than I Can Say"

Liberty LRP-3181/LST-7181 18 46 --
1961 Bobby Vee with Strings and Things
"How Many Tears", "Baby Face"
Liberty LRP-3186/LST-7186 -- 47 --
10/61 Hits of the Rockin' 50's Liberty LRP-3205/LST-7205 85 -- --
2/62 Take Good Care Of My Baby
"Take Good Care Of My Baby", "Run To Him"
"Walkin' With My Angel"

Liberty LRP-3211/LST-7211 91 29 29
7/62 Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets
"Someday (When I'm Gone From You)"
Liberty LRP-3228/LST-7228 42 -- --
7/62 A Bobby Vee Recording Session
"Please Don't Ask About Barbara", "I Can't Say Goodbye",
"Sharing You"

Liberty LRP-3232/LST-7232 121 -- --
11/62 Bobby Vee's Golden Greats
"Suzie Baby", "Punish Her"
Liberty LRP-3245/LST-7245 24 22 --
12/62 Merry Christmas From Bobby Vee Liberty LRP-3267/LST-7267 136 -- --
4/63 The Night Has A Thousand Eyes
"The Night Has a Thousand Eyes",
"Anonymous Phone Call"

Liberty LRP-3285/LST-7285 102 51 --
6/63 Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures Liberty LRP-3289/LST-7289 91 -- --
1963 I Remember Buddy Holly Liberty LRP-3336/LST-7336 -- 54 --
6/64 Bobby Vee Sings The New Sound From England
"I'll Make You Mine"
Liberty LRP-3352/LST-7352 146 -- --
1964 30 Big Hits Of The 60's Liberty LRP-3385/LST-7385 -- 95 --
1965 Live! On Tour Liberty LRP-3393/LST-7393 -- --
1966 30 Big Hits Of The 60's, Volume 2 Liberty LRP-3448/LST-7448 -- --
1966 Golden Greats, Volume 2
"Charms", "Be True To Yourself, "Never Love A Robin"
"Yesterday and You", "Hickory, Dick and Doc",
"Every Little Bit Hurts","Pretend You Don't See Her",
"Cross My Heart", "Keep On Trying"
"A Girl I Used To Know"

Liberty LRP-3464/LST-7464 -- --
1966 Look At Me Girl
"Look At Me Girl"
Liberty LRP-3480/LST-7480 -- --
10/67 Come Back When You Grow Up
"Come Back When You Grow Up"
Liberty LRP-3534/LST-7534 66 37
4/68 Just Today
"Beautiful People", "Maybe Just Today",
"My Girl/Hey Girl"

Liberty LRP-3554/LST-7554 187 --
1968 Do What You Gotta Do
"Run Like The Devil", "Do What You Gotta Do"
Liberty LST-7592 -- --
1969 Gates, Grills and Railings
"(I'm Into Lookin' For) Someone To Love Me"
Liberty LST-7612 -- --
1972 Nothin' Like A Sunny Day United Artists UAS 5656 -- --
1973 Legendary Masters Series
"A Letter From Betty"
United Artists UA-LA025-G2 -- --
1975 The Very Best Of Bobby Vee United Artists UA-LA 332E -- --


SWINGIN' ALONG (1962)Lippert Films, color, 74 minutes,DIRECTOR: Charles BartonPRODUCER: Jack LeewoodSCREENPLAY: Arthur Morton

A comedy about a songwriting contest, originally released in 1961 as Double Trouble. Scenes were added of Ray Charles (doing "What'd I Say") and Bobby Vee (doing "More Than I Can Say").

PLAY IT COOL (1962)Allied Artists, black & white, 82 minutesDIRECTOR: Michael WinnerPRODUCERS: Leslie Parkyn, Julian WintleSCREENPLAY: Jack Henry

Good selection of early Sixties' performers woven through a plot about a bratty teenage rich girl looking for her boyfriend. Bobby sings "At A Time Like This."

JUST FOR FUN (1963)Columbia Pictures, black & white, 85 minutesDIRECTOR: Gordon FlemingPRODUCER: Milton SubotskySCREENPLAY: Milton Subotsky

British teens win the right to vote, so the two major political parties try hard to win this new voting block to their side. Meanwhile, there's a parade of pop stars including Freddy Cannon, Ketty Lester, Jeremy Lloyd, Bobby Vee, The Crickets, The Springfields, Jet Harris, Tony Meehan, Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Tornadoes, Brian Poole and the Tremoloes and Johnny Tillotson. Bobby sings "All You Gotta Do Is Touch Me," and "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes."

C'MON, LET'S LIVE A LITTLE (1967)Paramount Pictures, color, 85 minutesDIRECTOR: David ButlerPRODUCERS: John Herelandy, June StarrSCREENPLAY: June Starr



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