Bobby Vee Dies At 73, On The Same Day As Pete Burns’ Death: The Day The Music Died

Bobby Vee has died after a “five-year bout with Alzheimer’s disease,” according to a report by Rolling Stone magazine on Monday, October 24. Vee was a huge star in the sixties, known for his boyish good looks, big grin, and fun songs, but also known as the guy who stepped in “the Day the Music Died.”

People magazine described how Bobby Vee and his band, “The Shadows,” hit the big time with their big break after the tragic plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

The holy trinity of music were scheduled to play at a concert in Moorhead, Minnesota, relatively near to Vee’s hometown of Fargo, North Dakota. The rockers were on their way to Moorhead when the plane crashed, and the music world changed forever. Organizers said the show must go on, and a legend was born.

Bobby was only 15 years old in 1959 when he and The Shadows were “tapped as a replacement” for the irreplaceable Buddy Holly, and “despite the sad circumstances,” Vee and his songs wowed the audience. The show was a huge success, and launched Vee’s career.

Rolling Stone reported that the sixties “pop idol” was 73 when he died, leaving a legacy of songs like “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Run to Him” and “Rubber Ball,” among the many songs he took to the Hot 100 list.

Vee’s very first smash hit song was “Suzie Baby,” and although the next release, “What Do You Want?” did poorly, Vee had influential connections through the Brill Building songwriting team. Those connections, added to his good looks and talent, “all but guaranteed him fame.”

By the time he was ready for his next song release, the world was ready for Vee, and “Devil or Angel,” made it to the Top 10 almost immediately.

Early on in Vee’s career, he had an unknown folk song writer join his band to play keyboards. That keyboard player soon gained fame of his own and went on to become an icon of the music world as singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan. In 2013, Dylan publicly praised his friend Bobby as a great person as well as a great musician.

“The most meaningful person I’ve ever been onstage with.”

However, the world after Buddy Holly was ready for a change. Perhaps it was the enormous grief felt when the Buddy Holly died, and perhaps it was the reality that trends change in songs as much as they do in anything else; either way it was “a difficult time in pop music.” The songs of folksingers like Bob Dylan were catching imagination of youth who wanted to make a difference, and Beatlemania was soon to sweep everything else out of the way. Bobby had a short-lived superstardom, but was popular throughout his life.

Vee’s son, Jeff Velline, made a statement to The Associated Press about his father’s death. He said that when famous Bobby Vee died, the singer had finally reached “the end of a long hard road” after his years of struggle with Alzheimer’s, and assured fans that Vee “died peacefully.” Bobby was at a Rogers, Minnesota hospice in his last days, and his family were with him when he died.

Bobby Vee wasn’t the only song writing star who died today. According to the Guardian, Pete Burns’ death was also announced on October 24. Burns died of a heart attack, and was the front man of pop band Dead or Alive. He was only 57 years old. It’s not the heart-wrenching tragedy that happened the “day the music died,” but it’s still very sad when any of our favorite stars die.

Do you still dance along to Bobby Vee songs, or to Pete Burns 1980s hit song, “You Spin Me Round?”

R.I.P. Bobby Vee and Pete Burns.

[Featured Image by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]