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Welcome back to the April 2018 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. For all you late comers I’ve raided the guys’ fridge and set out some refreshments. You MUST be getting hungry! Are you anticipating who might be stopping by the recording studio this afternoon? I am! And it just happens to be another Bobby! Bobby Vee! And right on their heels is another favorite group of mine — The Searchers. It’s gonna be a full day!


Robert Thomas Velline (April 30, 1943 – October 24, 2016), known professionally as Bobby Vee, was an American singer, songwriter and musician who was a teen idol andd film star in the early 1960’s. According to Billboard magazine, he had thirty-eight Hot 100 chart hits, ten of which reached the Top 20. He had six gold singles in his career.

Vee’s career began in the midst of tragedy. On February 3, 1959, “The Day the Music Died,” three of the four headline acts in the lineup of the traveling Winter Dance Party—Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper—were killed in the crash of a V-tailed 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza airplane, along with the 21-year-old pilot, Roger Peterson. (Dion DiMucci, the fourth headliner, had opted not to travel on the plane.) It crashed near Clear Lake, Iowa, en route to the next show on the tour itinerary, in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Velline, then 15 years old, and a hastily assembled band of Fargo schoolboys (including his older brother Bill) calling themselves the Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at the Moorhead engagement. Their performance there was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee’s career as a popular singer.

In 1963, Vee released a tribute album on Liberty Records called “I Remember Buddy Holly”. In the liner notes, he recalled Holly’s influence on him and the events surrounding Holly’s death, describing how he had looked forward to attending the concert, how the local radio station put out a call for local talent to fill after the disaster, and how Vee’s recently-organized, group, modeled on Holly’s style, had to make up a name (the Shadows) on the spot. Vee went on to become a bona fide star. He regularly performed at Winter Dance Party memorial concerts in Clear Lake. His three sons, all musicians, performed with him there.

He received the North Dakota Roughrider Award (an award presented by the governor of the state of North Dakota bestowed upon prominent North Dakotans) in 1999 and is mentioned in the film No Direction Home regarding his brief musical association with Bob Dylan and Dylan’s suggestion that he was “Bobby Vee” after Vee’s regional hit. On March 28, 2011, he became the 235th inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. And in 2014 he was inducted into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame.

Vee and Karen Bergen married December 28, 1963. In the early 1980’s Vee moved his family from Los Angeles to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he and Karen organized annual fundraising concerts to provide music and arts facilities for local children. They had four children, including sons Jeffrey, Thomas, and Robert, who performed with Vee in his later career, and daughter Jennifer. Karen died of kidney failure on August 3, 2015.

Vee continued performing live until 2011 when diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In 2011, friends and family contributed to his final new recordings which were eventually released as “The Adobe Sessions” on February 3, 2014. On April 29, 2012, Vee announced publicly that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and consequently would withdraw from the music business. He had been in memory care for 13 months in a long-term care facility in Rogers, Minnesota, just outside of Minneapolis, and eventually received hospice care in the weeks prior to his death. On October 24, 2016, Vee died from complications of the disease at the age of 73.

“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” is a song written by Benjamin Weisman, Dorothy Wayne, and Marilyn Garrett. It became a popular hit in 1962 for Bobby Vee. The song has had several cover versions over the years. Released as a single in late 1962, it spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, reaching number 3, while reaching number 2 on Billboard’s Middle-Road Singles chart, and number 8 on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart. It also spent 12 weeks on the UK’s Record Retailer chart, reaching number 3 on March 6, 1963. The song was included on his 1963 Liberty Records album, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”

And since I couldn’t decide on which one of these hits I liked the best, you get a Bobby Vee twofer today with “Never Love A Robin” which was written by Bobby himself.


Now before you wonder off to fill up your plate, let me introduce you to one of my FAVORITE British Invasion bands, The Searchers!

An English beat group which emerged as part of the 1960’s Merseybeat scene along with the Beatles, the Hollies, the Fourmost, the Merseybeats, the Swinging Blue Jeans, and Gerry and the Pacemakers, the band’s hits include a remake of the Drifters’ 1961 hit, “Sweets for My Sweet”; remakes of Jackie DeShannon’s “Needles and Pins” and “When You Walk in the Room”; an original song written for them, “Sugar and Spice”; a cover of the Orlons’ “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”; and a cover of the Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9”. With the Swinging Blue Jeans, the Searchers tied for the second group from Liverpool, after the Beatles, to have a hit in the US when their “Needles and Pins” and the Swinging Blue Jeans’ “Hippy Hippy Shake” both reached the Hot 100 on 7 March 1964

Founded as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959 by John McNally and Mike Pender, the band took their name from the classic 1956 John Ford western The Searchers. Pender claims that the name was his idea, but McNally, their first lead singer, ascribes it to ‘Big Ron’ Woodbridge (born Ronald Woodbridge, 1938, in Liverpool, Lancashire).

“Needles and Pins” is a song written by Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono. In his autobiography, Bono states that he sang along with Nitzsche’s guitar-playing, thus creating both the tune and the lyrics, being guided by the chord progressions. Jackie DeShannon tells the story differently, that the song was written at the piano, and that she was a full participant in the song’s creation, along with Nitzsche and Bono, although she didn’t get formal credit. The song was written for and originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon.

Oh what the heck! Let’s cheat a little bit. Here’s “(Love Potion) Number 9″.

Ok, I’m off to wash a load of towels! But I have Alexa playing oldies in the background!


Picture Sources:
Bobby Vee — AllMusic
The A toearchers —Punk Globe