Bobby Vee’s career was launched in l959 when, at age l5, he was chosen to fill in for Buddy Holly after the plane crash that killed Buddy, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. I asked Bobby about February 3, 1959 -- a day that is forever etched in his memory -- and he recalled that he’d been scared to death, and very upset that his hero had died. It was a sign of the times then, that “the show must go on” although, out of respect, Bobby Vee and his band, the Shadows, did not sing any of Buddy Holly’s songs that night. Bobby told me that a few years later he was scheduled to perform around the time of JFK’s assassination, but then the show did not go on -- a sign that the innocent times of the early 60's had ended forever!
Bobby Vee has had 6 gold records and 38 Billboard Top 100 hits. He’s been in 4 movies, on countless television programs, and has a large fan following in North America, Japan, Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom, where his tours sell out and he still visits yearly. He’s produced over 25 albums, has his own Rockhouse Record label, and has been touted by Billboard Magazine as “one of the top 10 most consistent chart makers ever.” In l994, music magazine, “The Beat Goes On,” named Bobby Vee Runner Up to his friend Paul McCartney as “Most Accomplished Performer.” Currently, Bobby performs about 100 shows a year – his upcoming schedule includes a “Golden Oldies” Caribbean cruise, large-scale performances with symphonies --and much more!
As I had said to him earlier, ”Whenever I think of Bobby Vee, I think of someone with a beautiful smile who loves to perform and enjoys what he’s doing.” Bobby Vee continues to impress me that way.
During the show, Bobby had the audience in the palm of his hand as he sang many of his own unforgettable hit tunes –“Walking With My Angel,” “Come Back When You Grow Up,” “ Devil or Angel,” “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” “Run to Him,” and so much more! And, if you thought Elvis fans scrambled over teddy bears, you should have seen Bobby’s fans with outstretched arms reaching for the large beach balls he threw out during “Rubber Ball” – one of his signature songs. “Bouncy, bouncy” went those balls through the air until they were grabbed by the lucky fans who were able to hang on to them! Bobby has a wonderful manner with his audiences, and we all joined in with him as he covered those other songs that are etched in the memories of a whole generation....... "Witch Doctor" (Ooh Eee Ooo Ah Ah), “What a Wonderful World,” and “Last Kiss” (Oh Where Oh Where Could My Baby Be) . Bobby also performed a great version of Leiber and Stoller’s “(You’re So Square) ”Baby I Don’t Care,” which he said was one of his favourite Elvis songs. At one point he stepped out on to the floor to shake hands with audience members and to dance with an avid fan. And then, back on stage, he treated us to some on-stage antics with son Tommy, the bass guitar, and the band! A real showman, Bobby Vee is every bit as nice as I knew he would be.
It was also a pleasure to see the genuine rapport between Bobby and his two talented sons (Jeff on drums and Tommy on bass) who were scheduled to fly to Iraq the next week to perform for the troops there.