2004 - Individual Artist
Robert Thomas Velline was born in Fargo, ND in 1943. He would become known worldwide as Bobby Vee.
Vee was thrust into the national limelight on Feb. 3, 1959 when his band, “The Shadows” were called to fill in at a dance in Fargo because of the plane crash near Clear Lake that took the lives of the three headliners for that dance: Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.
Soon after that, Vee’s group was discovered by famed producer Tommy “Snuff” Garrett. The band’s single “Suzie Baby” was released on a major label — Liberty Records.
He was quickly groomed to be a soloist using college boy looks and boy-next-door persona cleverly combined with a canon of teenage anthems provided by Brill Building songwriters.
After charting with a revival of the Clover’s 1956 hit “Devil or Angel”, Vee found success via the infectious, if lyrically innocuous, “Rubber Ball.” Between 1961 and 1962, he hit the big time with a series of hits including:
“More Than I Can Say”, “How Many Tears”, “Take Good Care Of My Baby”, “Run To Him”, “Please Don’t Ask About Barbara”, “Sharing You” and “A Forever Kind Of Love.” Vee hit the US charts at #1 with “Take Good Care Of My Baby” but his most enduring hit has been “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.”
Then Beatlemania hit the country so he decided to~ appear in films — “Play It Cool” and “Just For Fun.” While Beatlemania continued to rage on, Vee reverted to the work of his original inspiration, Buddy Holly. Both “Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets” and “Bobby Vee Meets The Ventures” were promoted by touring the country.
In 1967 Vee returned to the US Top 10 with “Come Back When You Grow Up.”
Following his phenomenal success in the ‘60s, Vee contented himself with regular appearances at rock and roll revival shows, making many trips to Iowa, and to record new material in the Holly style.
Bobby Vee passed away in October of 2016 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Until his death, Vee continued to appear on Iowa stages 45-plus years after beginning his illustrious career.