Remembering a Teen Idol

BobbyVee.com - Image by © Michael Levin/Corbis

This is a story about an unlikely teen idol. When he was interviewed for National Public Radio in 1999, he explained,“…the biggest record of my career came late in the ’60s. It was an innocent little song that came out during the heyday of The Beatles during the San Francisco flower power thing. It was a song that was – it seemed the least likely to succeed. It was such a soft little innocent tune. And it kind of crept up the charts. And by the end of 1967, it was the biggest selling record of my entire career.”

The teen idol was Bobby Vee and the song was, “Come Back When You Grow Up Girl.”

Here he is lip-syncing another one of his hits in 1965 on American Bandstand:

Bobby Vee’s songs, (really Robert Velline from South Fargo, North Dakota) were on our radios for most of the 1960s. In 1959, when a plane crash killed some other teen idols of the time, namely Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and P.J. Richardson, known as the Big Bopper, Bobby Vee was 15 years old. He and his band volunteered to play at the concert that was already planned. Vee tells the story that he made up the name of his band on the spot – the Shadows – and no one who volunteered even had an audition. He and his band just took the stage and started performing.

A record contract followed and we heard song after song from Bobby Vee. He continued performing live on stages around the country until 2011 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His wife of 52 years died in 2015. He died on October 24 at age 73 from complications of the disease. He is survived by three sons and a daughter and five grandchildren. At his funeral, a group played an instrumental version of, “Take Good Care of My Baby.”

Here is a 1960s version of a music video:

Best wishes,

Carol