Bobby Vee hits back

American pop singer Bobby Vee. Original Publication: People Disc - HM0348 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“I punched my buddy in the nose after lunch”…Wha?…Hunh? Yep, that’s what the man said, that man? Robert Velline! However you know him as Bobby Vee, and that is the opening line of lyric from his fourth hit single “Stayin’ In” you may not remember him as well as some of the other Bobby’s, Jimmy’s Billy’s, or Frankie’s but Bobby Vee enjoyed 38 chart hits, 10 of them hitting the Top 20….And between 1960 and 1967 that’s more than the other Bobby’s, Jimmy’s and Billy’s combined….But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.   By the time you heard about Bobby “Cold Cocking” his best friend “In the cafeteria” Bobby already had 2-3 international smashes and it’s only 1962…Yeah in a little less than two years Bobby, was a certified international “Teen Idol!…Yes, the girls were swooning and fainting, but we all privately couldn’t resist the infectious quality and consistent appeal of the songs he would choose to record! Check this out, and admit it, you have at least one of these in your collection…Devil or Angel…”Rubber Ball”… “Take Good Care Of My Baby”…The nose punching “Stayin’In”…..The night has a Thousand Eye’s…”Run To Him” and in the later years “Come Back When You Grow Up Girl” “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara”and “Love you more than I can Say”  Yes, way before Leo Sayer!….Staggering and we owned all of them!…Bobby Vee alone paid the rent and kept the lights on at the Brill Building! His earliest hits were penned by Gene Pitney and John D. Loudermilk with the great Carole King and Jerry Goffin delivering his later smashes…

Ah, but the plot thickens, Bobby’s Idol and influence was the great Buddy Holly, In fact the B-Side to “Rubber Ball was Bobby’s cover of Holly’s Everyday”….With many radio programmers believing it was Buddy, they  began playing it confusing matters and distracting record buyers from “Rubber Ball” Bobby’s incredible A side! Furthermore Bobby’s hit “More Than I Can Say” was written by two of the members of Buddy’s band The Crickets, Sonny Curtis  and Jerry Alison!

But here is the saddest, ironic and most important connection between Bobby Vee and Buddy Holly. You are all familiar with “The Day The Music Died” when a plane carrying Buddy, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens crashed after takeoff in a winter storm in Feb. of 59! Killing all four passengers on board. The plane was en route to  Moorhead Minneapolis for the first of a 24 day tour called “The Winter Dance Tour. At that point Bobby had released a regional record he wrote called “Susie Baby” a  record that was clearly inspired by Holly’s “Peggy Sue,”

As you can imagine the promoter of The Winter Dance Tour was panicking…24 dates to fill and NO BAND! But the promoter heard “Susie Baby” on the radio and called Bobby ( although he was still Robert Velline) and offered him the job, Bobby and his band “The Shadows”  we’re in Fargo North Dakota, so they  packed up their gear and headed to Moorhead where they headlined the second night of the ill-fated tour and several nights thereafter. These dates are considered the most important period in young , 15-year-old Bobby Vee’s career for two reasons. He was offered a record deal on the spot by Liberty records and he met a piano player named Elston Gunnn,yes, that’s Gunnn with 3  N’s…Gunn had  heard about this incredible band called The Shadows with a front guy who did a mean Buddy Holly, Elston was out of work and he approached Bobby to be the piano player for The  Shadows. Total Strangers Bobby asked who Elston had worked with? Elston replied by saying he just got off a tour with Conway Twitty!. Bobby needed a piano player, but he was also familiar with who was on tour and where, and he was sure that this odd guy  Elston may not be telling “The Whole Truth” but…..Bobby hired him regardless, Elston Gunn was now the piano player in Robert Velline and The Shadows. The two quickly became friends with Elston, fresh out of high school and nearly three years Bobby’s senior became a kind of mentor to Bobby and his musical direction. Things went well, but didn’t last for more than six months, ya see Elston could only play in the key of “C”

Yes dear reader, here’s the payoff Elston’s real name is Robert Allen Zimmerman…YES! Bob Dylan!

Through the years Dylan has sung the praises of Bobby Vee and on  several occasions performed Bobby’s “Susie Baby”….

Bobby spoke infrequently but respectfully about his relationship with Dylan and they remained friends until we lost Bobby Vee from complications due to Alzheimer’s in 2016……Here’s “Stayin In”


Were you a Bobby Vee fan?…We know you love Dylan!….Strange bedfellows, INDEED!

Scroll way down below to leave a comment!…


  1. Pretty amazing, Rick, that you and Bobby you shared Alan as a mutual friend! Small world in music!
    As for the guitar sounds that have echoes of Duane Eddy, I am not sure what song you mean. Hard to keep up, LOL! This below link lists the liner notes information for the “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” album. If you were looking for the info on the song by that name, Ric Gilman and Don Pavel play guitar in addition to Bobby on that track and another one. Which is ANOTHER slow version of Take Good Care Of My Baby that is even better than the one from the Sunny Day album.
    If it is a different song, I will have to pull our my liner notes, which I can do!
    This song “I’m Just A Country Boy”, originally recorded by Harry Belafonte, then later a huge hit for Don Williams, is included on Bobby’s final album. You can hear Bobby clearly on acoustic guitar here. Another live recording as most tracks on that final album were.

    This is the third version of Take Good Care Of My Baby from about 2001 or 2002. As far as I know, it was recorded live by Bobby at a concert on Madeleine Island, WI, which is where Ric lives.
    This is Ric’s webpage if you want to explore. He has some pretty amazing music if you want to scroll through the links on the left. Much of it can be downloaded for no charge, which I have done!
    Just to add a note of poignancy, Ric played an instrumental version of Take Good Care Of My Baby at Bobby’s funeral.

    So there is your next assignment! 🙂

    • Hey Peggy…MORE GREAT STUFF! As usual. Being the “Music Junkie” and Bobby Vee fan that I am, I can pour over liner notes, details etc. for hours! One thing that recently occurred to me is how much work Bobby did with the great Del Shannon……Much like Bobby, there was little Del could do that I didn’t love! So great that he WROTE as well as played with Bobby. Also, I hope I’m not sounding like a name dropper but the truth is, as I looked thru Ric’s credits I saw that he worked with Tommy Emanuel, I worked with Tommy as well back in the late 90’s…
      Lastly, “Take good care of my baby” for Bobby’s final goodby?
      Brings a tear to my eye.
      Thanx again Peggy, Looking forward to anymore “Tid – Bits you may have!
      All my best,

  2. Hey Peggy, sorry you can’t edit…..As the administrator of the site, I wasn’t aware, however , I believe you can do some editing prior to posting your comment….anyway, I’ll look into it and see if we can give you a bit more flexibility.

    Meanwhile, I’m having trouble with sound on the tablet I use to manage. The site. But my tech guy is on it so should be fine by tomorrow!
    Peggy, as you know I have been in the music biz for my entire adult life. I have singularly worked in the music publishing business….Most recently I served as President of Warnee Bros. Music!
    In that role, my day to day routine was working with “Songwriters”! Soooo learning at this late stage that one of my earliest Idol’s had turned into a great songwriter…..really surprized and impressed me. I was quite sincere with my remark about Quentin T. Or, for that matter any current film maker who’s old enough to recal the Great Bobby Vee. Which brings me to Tim Rice, I did a little work with Tim in the 80’s during the launch and run of his show Evita……Not a surprise to hear he was a Bobby fan, Tim loved the classic music that came out of America! And Bobby did a great Job with “Peggy Sue”….
    Really enjoyed the documentary stuf from 2011 and it was fun to catch a brief pix of Snuff….
    By the way I actually saw the “Teen Idol doc. From 1962, and I saw it in 1962 or ’63 just veggin’ out one night watching T.V. With my younger brother and WHAM, this program comes on about BOBBY VEE, I couldn’t believe it. In the coming weeks, moths, years, I’d ask my friends about it and nobody knew what I was talking about…..Guess it had a small audience in Los Angeles in ’62 !
    Lastly, if you haven’t already done so, you can learn a bit more about me by clicking on the “What’s it all about “Page at the top of the screen!
    Thank you Peggy, I look forward to hearing back from you with more details music, conversation etc.
    P.S. Been meaning to ask, “Did YOU work in some official capacity with Bobby?
    Thanx again…

    • I can’t help it. I gotta ask. (feeling like a panelist on ‘What’s My Line’) You wouldn’t happen to be Peggy as in Peggy Sue Gerron, the original Peggy Sue? It’s a stretch, but you are so knowledgeable, and there is that Buddy/Bobby connection. Could it be?

      • Ha! No, Jim Gorman, I am not Peggy Sue. I can see why you may think that and I love that you asked! One of my friends has called me that for 45+ years just for fun, I can’t even recall how it started. I never even met Bobby, I am just a fan, pretty devoted as you can see. I had hoped to finally get to see him in concert and meet him when I semi-retired a few years ago. That was unfortunately the same year he retired after becoming ill. I began collecting everything I could of his music, and through other fans and online I learned more about Bobby and his career. I have met other fans and also his sons and others in his family. I feel Bobby is somewhat underappreciated both as a musician and person, and it is fun for me when others come to see that there is more to him than his wonderful early music. Bobby is very missed by his many fans and friends. Hope you have enjoyed the songs and information I posted. 🙂

    • Hi Rick! I am just doing a quick answer for now. I never worked in any capacity with Bobby. I never even met him unfortunately. I am just a fan, and I love all the details and having as much of his music as I could acquire. And I read your info page, that is very cool about your background in the music business at Warner Brothers and elsewhere!

      I will just for now leave you with 2 amazing songs and an instrumental, all written by Bobby. They are from his second Christmas album, “Up North December”, released in 2003. The first song is also called “Up North December”. “Small Town America” comes as a music video with Bobby and his sons and another long-term friend musician (pianist) acting out making the recording at the studio. The intro on that has part of Up North December, and the end is a newer version of White Christmas (very bluesy!) The instrumental is called “Christmas Lullaby”.Beautiful countermelodies in this one. LOVE this album…

      Up North December
      Small Town America music video
      Christmas Lullaby

      • Hey Peggy…..WOW, Christmas in March! Thank you very much, the truth is I pride myself on my collection of Xmas records. And I believe the genre is owned by Frank, Bing and Mathis but my collection includes holiday releases by just about every popular artist you can think of!
        AND NOW, I can add Bobby Vee to the collection. I’m hopeful they’re available somewhere? I’ll start searching Amazon today! But meanwhile I’m enjoying the three tracks you posted…,.,THANK YOU YET AGAIN PEGGY!
        I’m curious about something, on these recent tracks and nearly everything you’ve shared I hear a guitar player that sounds a lot like the great Duane Eddy! Is that Bobby? One of his sons?………YOU? But seriously it’s great and I’m curious…
        Lastly, kudo’s to my friend Jim Gorman for asking the question many of us have considered….
        Are YOU Thee Peggy Sue?
        Regardless, your well informed passion for Bobby Vee is a pleasure to see and share! We’re so happy you found our little corner at SMS dedicated to Bobby Vee!…

        • Hey Rick! Don’t know if you are familiar with Bobby’s 1962 Christmas album called Merry Christmas From Bobby Vee, and I bought that back in the day. It is available on CD and easy to find. Up North December is less available in legitimate form. I got it from Bobby directly when I ordered CDs from him via his website. There is no longer a shop on his site, but you could contact either of his sons, Jeff and Tom, to see if they still are able to get it. It is very rare!! I have seen it for sale via other sources for download but I understand that these are not legal sources. If you contact them, you can ask about this. This is the legitimate information here.
          This is a promo for the show Bobby did at the time of the album’s release. It has snippets from most of the tracks on it.

          You asked about the guitar work. Bobby played acoustic rhythm guitar on most of his releases beginning with the Sunny Day album, and a couple songs before then. There are also others listed doing lead guitar, electric guitar, etc. Bobby had the same guitarist in his band for the last years of his career, AR Stevens. You can see him in the promo video above. Dan Neale is the guitarist listed on Up North December in addition to Bobby, and he is from MN. Bobby had ties to many musicians.

          This is a nice video from a show in England where you can see Bobby live playing guitar and singing “There’ll Never Be Anyone Else But You” and “Electric Trains And You”. The second song is cut off, but that version is one of the tracks on Up North December. The first very different version was released in the 60s and is included on the CD for the first Christmas album. And that song was written by Bobby Russell who wrote Honey! Given your long ties to songwriters…

          These are the tracks of the 1962 album here on youtube

          LOL at your suggestion that I was playing guitar. I only play in the key of C!! Like Bob Dylan and piano back when.

          Back to your prior comment, that is amazing you saw that early documentary about Bobby. I have seen it and had a copy that I unfortunately lost a few years ago. And amazing you worked with Tim Rice also. Tim had plans to visit Bobby when the play was running, and he came, but Bobby had unfortunately died a couple of days prior. If you were able to read the Goldmine article, you can see where those ties started!

          • Hey Peggy,
            And yes….Once more, thanx for all the tips, music and details unknown about Bobby. Last night I read the “Goldmine” article, I really enjoyed it. The writer did a great job of putting the reader in the room with Bobby ! What a kick hearing Bobby casually commenting on Joe Cocker etc. But the best part for me was the realization that Bobby and I had a mutual friend ! Alan Warner ! As you know Alan introduced Bobby to Tim Rice WELL, Alan and his wife Pat worked with me at Warner / Chappell Music Alan, is Thee Greatest Music Historian in the world and he and his wife Pat were consultants to WCM and their focus was older catalogs from the 50’s / 60’s…….Alan always had a wealth of stories and I recall several about Bobby… Alan, his wife Pat and I soon became good friends!
            BUT, overall the Goldmine article is a must read for any Bobby Vee fan and I recommend every reader go back to you post dated, March 6th And enjoy the article!
            Still trying to figger who is doing the Duane Eddy guitar riffs Is that AR Stevens?
            Thanx one million Peggy, gotta run and order my “Merry Christmas From Bobby Vee” C D….

  3. Hey Rick, sometimes I type too fast and notice my mistakes later. The name of the play in 2016 was Teen Idol:The Bobby Vee Story. I had the words of the title reversed and just wanted to be accurate. I think there is no way to edit posts? I couldn’t find a way to do that or I would have! 🙂 Anyway, look forward to your next comment!

  4. Hi Rick, Bobby did write that song, and many others! Here is another one for you, mentioned in the article above. It is called Whatever Happened To Peggy Sue. Tim Rice, the famous British lyricist, was a long time friend of Bobby, and surprised him by sending him the lyrics. Bobby along with his sons Jeff and Tommy wrote the music, and it is on the same album. There are some nice photos on this video by the way.

    Jeff and Tommy run the Rockhouse Productions, the company which Bobby had started in St. Joseph, MN. It includes a state of the art recording studio, in a beautiful old building that was a bank. The vocal booth is in the vault! In October 2016, they also were involved in the production of an original play about Bobby, called Bobby Vee, The Teen Idol Story, which ran at the History Theater in St. Paul, MN for a month. I saw the play by the way and it was wonderful. It is running again this fall. They have a tribute show to Bobby which they continue to perform. Bobby’s nephew Matt does the vocals for the show. He also does a tribute show to Neil Diamond, along with Jeff and Tommy, so that brings us back to your comment about Neil!

    This is info about the play. Bobby died during the running of the play and never was well enough to see it.

    This is a short documentary from 2011 from Minnesota PBS, which shows Bobby in his studio with Jeff and Tommy. This would have been not long after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. The black and white scenes are from a 1962 documentary, and some scenes are re-enactments of events (there was no one onsite at the Buddy Holly plane crash or at Bobby’s first performance for example!!). Bobby was charming and intelligent, to say the least… You will see Snuffy in one scene too. And I Wouldn’t Change A Thing is the song at the end.

    Never would have thought of Quentin T and Bobby, interesting idea!

  5. That is very interesting that you have worked in the music business, Rick. I am sure this gave you insight into the issues you brought up. Bobby worked with Snuff as you know during his early years until I think 1966 or so, and had a few collaborations with Bobby later. Bobby began working with Dallas Smith which I think had to do with Bobby trying to change to a more mature sound and image. He was the producer on the Sunny Day LP. It was at that point that Bobby’s original recording contract ended and the story was that he owed them an album but no one really cared what he recorded, and he released what many feel was his best album.

    After this Bobby had a few singles released on other labels. This was in the later 70s and they are true rarities, as they are not on CD and most are not on youtube. I will link them in another post. At some point, Bobby developed his own recording studio at home, later moving this to an old bank in his hometown. He or he and 2 of his sons managed the recording and production of his later albums, I believe the last 5. He also worked on releasing all of his early albums except for 2, and lots of his rare recordings. He has a singles compilation with 96 tracks for example. Bobby always valued his collaborators and he and Snuff remained friends for life. Bobby had lots of band members over the years that he toured with and recorded with, as well as his 3 sons. There are a lot of people who know the ins and outs of all of Bobby’s collaborators.

    There is a great article in Goldmine Magazine about Bobby, actually 6 parts, called I Wouldn’t Change A Thing. That is also the title of a CD compilation from 2002 Bobby recorded with his family and others. And it is also a track from that album. Bobby had initially recorded the song on another album called The Last Of The Great Rhythm Guitar Players, released on tape in the 90s. However, he did a second version using the same vocals with a different backing track for the later album. A stunning song in my opinion!

    Anyway, here is the song, I Wouldn’t Change A Thing… the second version…

    This is the link to the Goldmine Article. This is a very comprehensive interview with Bobby about his entire career up to that point. Worth reading every word and absorbing all the details, and it should answer lots of your questions! This is part 6 by the way, as it includes the links to the 5 other parts.

    • Hey Peggy,
      You said it…”A Stunning song” Did Bobby write it? It reminds me a lot of many of Neil Diamonds best!
      Also, not sure if anyone is actively working Bobby’s incredible body of work? But generally I believe Quentin Tarrintino would be a huge fan and specifically “I wouldn’t change a thing” I could certainly hear being used in one of his films…
      Looking forward to reading the Goldmine article!
      Thank you, once again Peggy

  6. Peggy, First let me apologise for taking so long in getting back to you, as John Lennon once said “Life is what happens while your making other plans” ! Secondly another BIG THANK YOU for the clips you posted…
    What a treat to go back in time and see Bobby doing a variety show, and he steals it! That clip illustrates something I mentioned in my first post about Bobby, his great ability to choose the right songs to perform and record! I was a huge fan of B.J. Thomas and his version of “Just can’t help believing”. BUT BOBBY MADE IT HIS !…..Same goes for “Lady came from Baltimore” especially Bobby Darin’s cover but once again Bobby took it to another place….WOW…..These clips so accurately showcase how Bobby was so much more than a “Teen Idol” By the way, it was very brave of Bobby to tackle an Eagles song so early in THEIR career ! But he does, and makes it his!
    Peggy, I’d love to know a bit more about who was working behind the scenes with Bobby, managers, producers etc. I have worked in the music biz for nearly my whole life and believe an artists support team makes all the difference Bobby certainly had huge success, but also seems to have suffered many missed opportunity’s, especially in the later years !
    In the early Seventies, I worked with Snuff Garrett on a couple projects, and Snuff made some great records with Bobby and many others, but I found it difficult to get his focus and attention. ( to illustrate my point )
    Thank you again Peggy, and of course in addition to administrative details, I’d love to hear and see more “rareity’s from Bobby…

  7. Glad you are enjoying this musical journey, Rick, and that you love that song too! Bobby was an accomplished guitarist, although there are times when the rhythm guitar can blend in the background while the lead guitar gets the glory, so it can’t always be picked out. On Sunny Day, I can pick out Bobby’s guitar through much of it, and he had some great collaborators on that album too such as Red Rhodes on pedal steel, who played with James Taylor. The Five Man Electrical Band do backup vocals on the first track, Every Opportunity. On the last track, It’s All The Same, it is Bobby on guitar throughout. The words underestimated and underrated can be overused, but I do believe it applies to Bobby. He knew how to write a song, how to sing it, and how to arrange it with much care and attention to the details. Not just a teen idol!

    It will take a while to get through the rarities, I have lots! The Dylan track featured Bobby’s son, Robby, on lead guitar, while his other sons Jeff was on drums and Tommy on bass, just FYI.

    This is a fairly early video from January 1971, Bobby with his longer hair and beard on the Barbara McNair Show, along with Freda Payne. Bobby sings Just Can’t Help Believing (he was the first to release this, on an album in 1969, but it wasn’t a hit); Tim Hardin’s The Lady Came From Baltimore (just compare it to other versions of this song and see how Bobby makes it very unique); and Both Side Now, sung with the 2 ladies. He plays guitar on the second song, and the last song features nice counterpoint singing at the end. Bobby getting beyond his teenage voice a bit, age 27.

    From about the same era, this is a cover of Desperado from 1974, recorded on a cassette tape in a nightclub in Scotland, so the sound quality is not perfect. But a great version! There is a nice description below the video from Bobby’s son-in-law which mentions Sunny Day.

  8. Hi again Rick! It is interesting to think of the changes in Bobby’s voice and style. The young Bobby was SO young, really just 16-19 years old when he had his big hits. So that was his teenage voice. Then it was suddenly not in vogue to do that type of music and even when Bobby and others changed with the times, they were often dismissed. Notin’ Like A Sunny Day was an important album for Bobby as it was his own compositions and more personal music which brought him back to his roots. Many people have compared it to Rick Nelson as you did.

    Most of Bobby’s recordings, especially early on, were done live so there are not a lot of outtakes and demos. I do have a number of recordings that are rarities, and there are a lot of rarities that were released. Just to give you one here, Love Must Have Passed Me By. This was written by Bobby at age 16 and recorded in 1959 with The Shadows. Their plan had been to release this record after their initial try with Suzie Baby. Because Suzie Baby was so successful and led to Bobby’s recording contract, this song was left in the dust. It was finally supposed to be released years later. I think in 1974 on The Legendary Masters album. This album was only released in the UK and pulled from the planned US release. It did come out later, several times now. Then Rosie Flores did a cover of it in 2012, with Bobby doing backup vocals. Rosie added a verse to the song by the way. Then, Rosie’s song was included on Bobby’s final album, The Adobe Sessions, in February 2014. So, one of his first recordings, and one of his last. This is one of my very favorites and how I wish it would have had a chance back early on!

    Listen for the stellar guitar work from Bobby’s brother, Bill on this!

    This is Rosie Flores’ version with her added verse.. and Bobby on back up…

    • Hey Peggy….
      Thank You yet again, I just love this song and your right about the guitar work….In fact, I’ve noticed the guitar work on many of hid records especially the Dylan track you sent me as well as everything on “Nothing Like A Sunny Day”……Great Stuff!
      And the Rosie Flores version blew me away! She so took it to another great place….WOW! The truth is the more we talk and the more I hear, I only feel stronger about how Bobby was a very underestimated artist….Thanx Peggy for further opening my eye’s and ears. So, in that regard, if you have another “rarity” I’d love to hear it…

  9. Hey Peggy,
    Thanx so much for filling in some of the blanks on Bobby! I recall hearing about this record back in the early 70’s and I heard a track on the radio….I don’t recall which song. But I was dissappointed. It didn’t sound like the old Bobby I loved! But I did come to learn how artists have to grow and now as I listen I see how this is the perfect direction for Bobby Vee! Take good care of my baby is STUNNING!
    The whole record reminds of what Rick Nelson did around the same time when he formed “The Stone Canyon Band…..another great record!…
    Thank you so much Peggy, and please come back with more Bobby Vee music! Do you have any out takes or demo’s of his hits? Always love hearing those
    Regardless, do come back and continue the conversation about Bobby!
    All the best,

  10. I am a big fan of Bobby Vee and always enjoy finding others who like him. Great to read your enthusiastic comments! All the people mentioned here are part of Bobby’s history, but I wanted to comment regarding some of the details. No offense intended, but there is a lot of misinformation on the web, and things that are incorrect regarding Bobby tend to get repeated when others seek out information. There is a bio on Bobby’s webpage if you want to check it out.

    Bobby and his brother and 2 others had been playing together in a garage band, at the time of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and the others on 2-3-59. That tour had started a few weeks earlier on January 23 and the plane crash was shortly after takeoff following the show in Clear Lake Iowa. Buddy had hired a plane to travel to Fargo, ND, due to the terrible travel conditions on an unheated bus going hundreds of miles most days in frigid conditions.

    Bobby was 15 years old, being the singer and rhythm guitarist in his band. Bobby and his friends had tickets to go to the show. They lived just a couple miles from Moorhead in Fargo. The radio station promoting the concert put out an announcement seeking other bands or acts to fill in due to the loss of the 3 stars. A few other acts also volunteered. One of the members of Bobby’s band called the radio station, and they were invited to come to the show without even being asked about their band. They had never even performed in public. They ran to a store to buy matching ties and sweaters. Bobby named the band The Shadows on the spot before going on stage at the show when asked the name of the band. They played covers of some popular songs of the day, but not any of Buddy’s as even though they knew his songs, they felt it would not be respectful to do that. Their performance drew the attention of a promoter at the show who offered to get the band paid engagements in the area. Their first paid performance was at a Valentine’s Day dance a few weeks later. There was no record deal at that point. The promoter also suggested Bobby call himself Bobby Vee instead of Velline, so that is how he got the name.

    The Shadows did not perform at any of the other concerts on the Winter Dance Party tour, as other known acts were brought in instead. And Bobby was really an unknown at that time.

    The Shadows saved money from their jobs and on June 1, 1959, they paid 500. to have a recording session of 4 songs which Bobby or his brother had written. Suzie Baby was Bobby’s composition, credited on the record to Bobby Vee and The Shadows, and they promoted the record by going to local radio stations and asking for it be played while handing out copies. The song eventually went to number one in the Upper Midwest area.

    Sometime in the summer, the Shadows hoped to find a piano player and met Robert Zimmerman aka “Elston Gunnn” aka the future Bob Dylan at a restaurant in Fargo where he was working as a busboy. Bob was from several hundred miles away. He said he had been on the road with Conway Twitty which as you said was not true. He could only play in the key of C again as you said! He only was part of the band for a few weeks, but things were not meant to work out as he also didn’t have a keyboard, the pianos where they played were well out of tune, and they couldn’t afford to buy a keyboard. They paid him for the gigs he performed at, and they parted amicably. He left to go to college in Minneapolis at some point not long after.

    It was in that fall that Bobby got a contract with Liberty Records, and then began recording in Los Angeles. His career took off a number of months after that.

    Bob Dylan performed Suzie Baby and gave tribute to Bobby at a concert in July 2013 when Bobby was in attendance with family. There is a nice description about them under this video that was put together by Bobby’s son-in-law from tapes others took at the show. It also includes some great vintage pictures of Bobby and Bob. The picture you posted of the two of them was taken that night when they met up after the concert. Bob would have been in the Shadows band at the point after Suzie Baby was released, and he mentioned in this video that he had performed it with Bobby. If you haven’t seen this, hope you enjoy it!

    • Hey Peggy,
      First and foremost it is so very great to hear from someone who is as knowledgeable, passionate and as excited as we are about Bobby Vee! And we appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge and help refine some of our details regarding Bobby and his incredible music..
      Additionally, Huge thanx for posting the great video of Dylan doing “Susie Baby”. NO! We have never seen it, but we think it speaks volumes about “Both Bobby’s” and their relationship!
      Our favorite moment in the clip comes just as Dylan is introducing the song, as Dylan begins speaking and the band begins playing someone on stage murmurs “What a treat”!
      Indeed it was!…
      Thank you Peggy, please come back and join us again, we believe you surely have more great Bobby Vee stories and we’d love to hear ALL OF THEM!

      • Hi Rick! Thanks for the great reply, and I am so glad you enjoyed the video. I like that moment you mentioned also, the whole thing really IS a treat. By the way, Bob Dylan virtually never says a word at concerts, and it was a big deal among Dylan fans that actually spoke and then gave this tribute to Bobby. He knew Bobby was coming to the show and as was mentioned in the description under the video, Bobby and family were invited to watch the show on the side of the stage, pretty amazing in itself. The words in Bob’s wonderful intro were as follows, by the way:

        “Thank you everyone, thank you friends. I lived here a while back, and since that time, I’ve played all over the world, with all kinds of people. And everybody from Mick Jagger to Madonna. And everybody in there in between. I’ve been on the stage with most of those people. But the most beautiful person I’ve ever been on the stage with, was a man who is here tonight, who used to sing a song called “Suzie Baby”. I want to say that Bobby Vee is actually here tonight. Maybe you can show your appreciation with just a round of applause. So, we’re gonna try to do this song, like I’ve done it with him before once or twice.”

        Although I was a fan from the early years, I had no idea until the internet how many recordings Bobby had. 25 early albums, and many unreleased rarities that eventually came out. All of his albums but 2 are on CD. He later had his own recording studio and kept touring and recording long after the hit years, with 5 later albums, the final one being in 2014, called The Adobe Sessions. He recorded it in his garage at his winter home in Tucson with his 3 sons, all of whom are accomplished musicians, shortly after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. Bobby did a unique version of Dylan’s The Man In Me on that album, and the scenes of that live recording are at the end here. I would happily share lots more, but don’t want to inundate you! I have certain favorites and can speculate that you and most people have likely never even heard of them. I never got to see Bobby live, but I do have almost all of his recordings, hundreds actually. So any questions, please ask. I could keep going for a while!

        Here is The Man In Me. Much different than Dylan’s version! Be aware that Bobby’s voice is quite different than his teenage voice, he sounds older but as always very soulful.

        • Hey Peggy,
          Your post is so rich with information about Bobby, I’m not sure where to start…
          So, I’ll begin with THANK YOU!
          The truth is I have been a music lover/ Junkie since I was a young lad and thru the years I’ve often wondered what my early idols would be doing if they could make music today. And of course I’ve considered Bobby Vee in that regard! And you show up with video of Bobby doing Dylan….INCREDIBLE..and as you said, he sounds a little older, but still sounds like Bobby Vee, and YES maybe even a bit more soulful..
          About your comment re: inundating us? Not a chance, we embrace inundation here at SMS and would encourage you to post everything and anything featuring Bobby especially if it’s rare or “unseen”
          Thank you Peggy, we look forward to hearing more from you and Bobby Vee
          Rick @ SMS

          • Interesting Rick! I think many of us wondered about those singing heroes from the past, and then the internet allowed us to discover what we missed.

            I have plowed through just about everything from Bobby. And one of my favorites of his is his singer/songwriter album from 1972 called Nothin’ Like A Sunny Day. Released on LP under his real name (also on CD listed under Bobby Vee and combined with another album). Bobby looking older with longer hair and a beard, and with all but 2 songs originals penned by Bobby. It includes a pretty amazing slow version of Take Good Care Of My Baby. Bobby did the musical arranging and played acoustic guitar on this, as he did from that point forward on all his albums. I have played this one over and over. Country/folk rock bliss, in my opinion, and it was unknown and not a hit and should have been. Thoughtful lyrics and great melodies and Bobby at his best vocally!


  11. Hey Ron,
    Great to hear you’re as big a fan of Bobby Vee as I am!….Futhermore, I recall when I first heard “Meet The Beatles, I thought “some of these songs sound like Bobby Vee records” makes sense as both Bobby and “The Fabs” sight Buddy Holly as their primary influence! “Whoa Whoa, Yaye Yay”!

  12. Thanx for the GREAT BIO!!! Bobby was ALWAYS A HUGE part of the background music I listened to in my room after school!!! As I read this I kept hearing his songs coming over my 6″ transistor radio.

    I had read Bob Dylan’s “Chronicles Vol. 1” and still never knew the deeper history of Bob and Bobby!! The piano in C Major only!!! WOW!!

    Bobby Vee WAS a big part of my music inspirations.
    thanx “Shoe”…..the wood

  13. Hey Joooooooools,
    Great to see you back on the site! Yeah “More than I can say” Brilliant and written by two Guy’s from Buddy Holly’s band The Crickets, and how about “Run to Him”?
    It was literally hit after hit after hit….But “Stayin’ In” was so TEEN AGE! Punching your friend in the nose cuz he bad mouths your girlfriend….Great stuff!
    Always great to hear your thoughts!

  14. I was definitely a fan of Bobby Vee and owned and listened to his music often. Who could not like, ” Love you more than I can say” or “The night has a thousand eyes”. One that came out in 1965, “Sharing You” started my love of his music although I was not aware of the backstory…thank you for sharing it! Dylan on the other hand was an artist I could, maybe, listen to for a couple of songs however his monotone nasal quality did nothing for me even though he is an icon in the music industry.

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