Robert Thomas Velline was born on April 30th, 1943 in Fargo, North Dakota. He grew up in a musical family - His father Sidney played the violin and piano, his uncle played saxophone and his two older brothers, Bill and Sidney Junior. both played guitar. Bobby played saxophone in his high school band, and during high school saved enough money from his paper route to buy himself a new Harmony guitar. 

Bobby's brother Bill began to play sessions with Jim Stillman and Bob Korum, and Bobby badly wanted to join them, but his brother told him he was too young, and the sessions remained closed to him for some months. When the older boys allowed him to join them he became aware he had something they lacked and needed: the knowledge of the complete lyrics of all the songs on the hit parade. After some time Dick Dunkirk took Stillman's place on bass guitar, and soon the Shadows became one of the most popular new bands in the area.

On  February 3, 1959 a light plane carrying  Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper (all on their way to a performance in Moorhead, Minnesota) and 20  year old pilot Roger Peterson crashed in a snow covered  Iowa field, killing everyone on board. The rest of the performers scheduled to play decided the show should go on, and the promoters asked that local talent should fill out the show.

The Shadows were  one of these local talents.

In the following thirty plus years Bobby would go on to place thirty-eight songs in the Billboard top 100 charts, six gold singles, fourteen top forty hits and two gold albums.

Paid work followed soon after, with their first engagement being on Valentine's Day, 1959. The conditions were substandard, but the band made $60.00 which was excellent pay at the time.

On June 1st 1959 the band recorded Susie Baby for Soma Records .By the end of the summer, Susie Baby had reached number one on all the local stations in the upper mid-west, and major record companies were calling with interest in signing this new young singer. Bobby Vee and the Shadows signed with Liberty Records in the autumn of 1959 and the band continued on until 1963, when Bill deciding the road was not to his liking, left to pursue interests closer to home.

Nothing happened for the band until late 1960, and Liberty Records began  to loose faith in the band. But then a radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania began playing the B-side of what might have been Bobby's last single. The song was "Devil or Angel."  By the end of 1960 it peaked at number 6 in the Billboard charts, as well as reaching the top 20 on the R & B charts. Liberty Records exercised its option and signed Bobby to a five year contract.

By 1963 Bobby Vee had collected seven top ten hits in England as well as a number 2 album called Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets.
In 1963 he shared the charts for forty weeks side-by-side with the Beatles.
His tours took him to Japan, Australia and Europe as well as the United Kingdom. His thirty plus year recording career has produced over twenty-five albums including a Gold Album from England for his 1981 Singles Album release. Back in the U.S., Billboard Magazine called him, "One of the top ten most consistent chart makers ever."

Bobby Vee has continued his musical career into the 90s. In 1990 EMI/Cema issued a twenty-five song re-mastered compact disc and cassette as part of the Legendary Masters series. His 1963 Christmas album was re-released late in the year. Bobby released a 17 song collectors' edition cassette on his own Rockhouse Record label to coincide with his 1990 tour of the UK. In 1994 critics and collectors gave great reviews to his Last Of The Great 'Rhythm' Guitar Players CD. The annual readers' poll by sixties music magazine The Beat Goes On voted him: 1991 Best American Act; 1992 Best Live Performer; 1993 Favourite Male Singer; and in 1994 he was named Runner Up to Paul McCartney in the category of Most Accomplished Performer.

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT ~ DEVIL OR ANGEL ~ RUBBER BALL ~ TAKE GOOD CARE OF MY BABY ~ RUN TO HIM ~ THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES ~ COME BACK WHEN YOU GROW UP

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