Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
Bobby Vee was born Robert Thomas Velline in Fargo, ND in 1943, but the world came to know him as American pop singer and teen idol Bobby Vee. Vee’s life was surrounded by music. His father played violin and piano. His uncle played saxophone. His older brothers played guitar. And by his teens he was playing sax in the high school band but dreaming of getting into rock ‘n roll.
Fate stepped in in 1959 and gave him a shot at fulfilling that dream. A plane carrying rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper crashed in Iowa, killing them and their pilot. The group had been headed for Moorhead, Minn., and when promoters sought local musicians to fill in for the fallen stars Bobby Vee stepped up and, at age 15, launched his remarkable career.
From his first hit later that same year, “Susie Baby,” to “Devil or Angel,” the 1960 hit that had been the ‘B side’ of one of his singles, to his numerous honors received in the 1990s, Bobby Vee produced hit after hit and performed to huge crowds around the world.
Bobby Vee had 38 songs in Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100, plus six gold singles and two gold albums. He played to sold out venues throughout the 1960s, and again in the 1990s as his music became “classic.” In 1994, the magazine named him runner-up to Paul McCartney as the Most Accomplished Performer.
In 2012 Vee announced he had early Alzheimer’s Disease. He and his family used the diagnosis as a catalyst for coming together to make more music – songs that have been released on a CD called “Bobby Vee: The Adobe Sessions.”
He is of Finnish descent.