Bobby Vee (Robert Thomas Velline)
BiographyFargo, North Dakota, USA
Contrary to popular belief, Bobby Vee was not one of the flood of Italian-American rockers to come out of the New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia area in the '50s and '60s. He was born Robert Velline in Fargo, ND, and, although he started playing music when he was just a young teenager, it was country music, not rock. However, he, his brother and some friends eventually formed a rock band, "The Shadows", and began to attract some attention in the Fargo area. Read more... en route to a concert in Minnesota. The concert's promoters decided to put on the show anyway, and asked for help from local talent. Bobby, who knew the words to all of the songs that were to be played, found himself on stage and, at 15 years old, began his career as a rock star. He and his group had a local hit with "Susie Baby", which came to the attention of executives at Liberty Records in Hollywood, and he and The Shadows were signed to the label. The next few records they cut went basically nowhere, however, and Liberty was all set to cancel their contract when a DJ in Pittsburgh played the "B" side to one of their records, a remake of an old ballad by The Clovers called "Devil or Angel". It became a hit in Pittsburgh and then spread throughout the Northeast, eventually hitting #6 on the national pop charts. Liberty then signed Vee to a five-year contract. He had a string of hits for the label, such as "Take Good Care of My Baby", "Rubber Ball", "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" and "Come Back When You Grow Up, Girl".