Tribute and Variety
Shows are super successful. The buyer gets more bang for the buck, spending the same amount on
4 to 6 names.
The audience gets to hear a variety of artists. Win Win!
Bobby Vee was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, North Dakota on
April 30, 1943 into a musical family. By 15, his musical career was
already under way. "I played saxophone in the high school
band," remembers Bobby, "but I wanted to rock out. We were
playing all the standard band pieces and I wanted to do 'Yakety Yak.' My
brother Bill went out and bought a guitar and I saved up enough money
from my paper route to eventually buy a new (but sun faded) thirty
dollar Harmony guitar for myself. We used to go to all the country music
shows that came through the area and then would come home after and do
our own version of the show in the living room of our small home in
Before long Bill had become an excellent guitar player and began jamming
with bass player Jim Stillman and drummer Bob Korum. Bobby tried every
angle imaginable to join the group sessions but
Bill thought he was too young. "I kind of backed into the band. I
used to make all kinds of deals with my brother to come along and
practice. When he finally let me join him (if I would promise to keep
quite) I was aware that they didn't know any of the songs lyrically and
I just happened to know them all. I was fifteen years old and my ears
were glued to the radio. It didn't take long before I started singing
the songs and they started rockin' along." Before long, Dick
Dunkirk took Stillman's place on bass guitar and the "Shadows"
became one of the top new bands in the area.
On February 3, 1959, fate stepped in and Bobby's story started on a bittersweet note.
A light plane carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, The Big Bopper and 20
year old pilot Roger Peterson crashed in a snow covered Iowa field, killing everyone on board.
The ill-fated flight from Clearlake, Iowa never made the next engagement in Moorhead, Minnesota. News of the
tragedy traveled fast. People in Moorhead were in a state of shock. The rest of the tour had
arrived by bus from Clearlake after a cold and snowy all night drive. A
decision was made to continue on with the show. The promoters asked for
local talent to help fill in that sad night and as the curtain came up, a new voice was introduced to the world. A "fifteen
year old" voice that knew all the words to all the songs: Bobby Vee.
In the following thirty plus years, Bobby went on to place
thirty-eight songs in the Billboard top 100 charts, six gold singles,
fourteen top forty hits and two gold albums. But that night, instead of
a seat in the audience, Bobby and his brother Bill along with the
"Shadows" took the stage in memory of three of rock 'n' roll's
Bobby and the group cut a record for Soma Records that Bobby had written
called "Susie Baby" which reached number one on all the local
stations, and soon major record companies were calling with interest,
Bobby and the Shadows signed with Liberty Records in the fall of '59.
In 1960, after a couple of songs had barely inched their way into
the national charts, a
radio station in Pittsburgh, PA began playing the back side of what
might have been Bobby's last single with Liberty. The song was "Devil or
Angel." It had been an R&B hit a few years earlier by a group
called The Clovers. Following the records
success in Pittsburgh, "Devil or Angel" went on to reach the
top ten in city after city. 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 5
Bobby's hits were not limited to
America. By 1963 he had collected seven top ten hits in England as well
as a number 2 album called "Bobby Vee Meets the Crickets" and
in 1963 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, where he is still a yearly visitor. 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."
Into the nineties, the beat goes on. With the continuing demand for
product by classic oriented radio stations and collectors alike, EMI/Cema
issued a twenty-five song re-mastered compact disc and cassette as part
of the Legendary Masters series. Late in the year, a re-issue of his
1963 Christmas album was made available. To coincide with his sold out
1990 tour of England, Bobby issued a 17 song collectors edition cassette
called "U.K. Tour '90," on his own Rockhouse Record label. The
tape, an anthology of sorts, included new material recorded with his
sons, as well as several previously unreleased songs from past years. In
1994 critics and collectors gave great reviews to his "Last Of The
Great 'Rhythm' Guitar Players" CD. As testimony to Bobby's high
energy show and continued popularity the annual readers poll by sixties
music magazine The Beat Goes On voted him: 1991 Best American Act; 1992
Best Live Performer; 1993 Favorite Male Singer; and in 1994 he was named
Runner Up to Paul McCartney in the category of Most Accomplished
On June 20, 1999, Bobby was presented The Theodore Roosevelt Rough
Rider Award by North Dakota's Governor Ed Schafer. The Rough Rider Award
is the highest recognition given by the state to native North Dakotans.
Gov. Schafer said, "Throughout his success, Bobby has maintained
his North Dakota roots and values. He is praised by many of his peers
not only for being a talented performer, but a kind, good and humble
person. I am extremely proud to honor him with this award."
Between Europe and America, Bobby and his band perform about a
hundred dates a year. When he is not touring or working on his own
music, he is involved in the production of various other musical
projects at his Rockhouse Recording Studio, located outside of St.
From the white socks and ducktail days of "Susie Baby" to
the high tech digital present, Bobby has continued to grow as an artist
and entertainer and to enjoy a loyal following of fans and friends