Google+ Followers

Friday, 31 August 2012

Bobby Vee - Suzie Baby

On this day 31st August 1959, Bobby Vee appeared on the music charts for the first time as "Suzie Baby" debuted.

Robert Thomas Velline (born April 30, 1943), known as Bobby Vee, is an American pop music singer. According to Billboard magazine, Vee has had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.

Born in Fargo, North Dakota, he had his first single with "Suzie Baby", an original song penned by Vee that nodded towards Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue" for the Minneapolis-based Soma Records recorded June 1st 1959. By the end of the summer, "Susie Baby" had reached number one on all the local stations in the upper mid-west and major record companies were calling with interest in signing this new young singer. Bobby Vee and the Shadows signed with Liberty Records in the fall of '59 and the band continued on until 1963.

On June 1, 1959, the Shadows went to Minneapolis for their first recording session. The deal was with Soma Records to record at Kaybank Studios from nine in the morning to twelve noon. They cut four instrumentals and added Bobby's vocals to two of them before the money/time ran out. The records were credited to Bobby Vee and the Shadows. The A-side of the single was "Suzie Baby," which was a direct descendant of Holly's "Peggy Sue." Loma had local ties with the local record distributor and the record quickly began receiving air play in the upper Midwest becoming a best selling single in the area. Joe Sadd Liberty's regional promotion man heard the band while "Suzie Baby" was number one in Minneapolis. Doing his job, Sadd sent a copy to Hollywood.

Liberty offered to release the single nationally on its own label with an option for a second single. The understanding was if the records were successful there would be a long term contract. Liberty released "Suzie Baby" in the first week of August, 1959. It quickly moved into the lower part of the Pop charts by the end of the month. Vee was offered a one year contract with Liberty and as were the Shadows. Then, nothing happened. With "Susie Baby" fading from memory, Vee was rushed to Los Angeles to record under the direct supervision of Liberty's staff. Supervising Vee was Producer Thomas "Snuff" Garrett. Garret was a 19 year old hip producer from Lubbock, Texas, by way of Dallas. Garrett had moved to Los Angeles and Liberty Records in 1958. A singer named Adam Faith had come up with an imitation of Holly's style and had recorded What Do You Want? in the UK. Bobby Vee was given the assignment of covering the song to sell in the US market, but his recording did not meet with success.

Garrett's formula was to pick up songs from the prolific songwriters in New York City's Brill Building, and to make certain that the words to the songs were sung in such a way that they could be heard clearly and understood. The breakthrough song for Bobby Vee was Devil Or Angel, one that made it to the top ten late in 1960, when Vee was only seventeen. He followed it a short time later with another top ten tune Rubber Ball, which had been co-written by Gene Pitney. Rubber Ball also served to introduce Bobby Vee to rock-and-roll fans in the UK, where it reached number four.

Recording for Liberty in the early 60's, Bobby Vee became one of rock-and-roll's biggest stars on both sides of the Atlantic.

(Info mainly History Of Rock)


Joski said...

In the movie No Direction Home, Bobby Vee is briefly mentioned when Dylan states he played in Bobby's backing band.

boppinbob said...

So Bob Dylan was in The Shadows? What’d he do?

BV: He was in The Shadows. Yeah, he played piano, but he didn’t play very well, and we didn’t have a piano. He talks about playing in a church basement, and that’s true.

The piano was horribly out of tune. He could play “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On.’ He played really well in the key of C, but that was about it. He had this amazing energy even at that time, and when he wasn’t playing he’d come up, and we did Gene Vincent songs and Ronnie Hawkins and all kinds of stuff — I remember doing “Lotta Lovin’” and all of a sudden hearing handclaps next to my ear, and he was singing harmony on “Lotta Lovin’” and I thought, “Wow, this guy, he’s a wild card.”

He was great-spirited, had an amazing sense of humor and just wonderful energy. This was summer of ’59. He also mentioned that we had that time period in common. He grew up in Hibbing, and I grew up in Fargo, but we were listening to the same music. But then he moved to New York and started connecting to a lot of things that I was not connected to, because I wasn’t aware of them.

That’s before he had ever written a song even. You were the songwriter in that band and Dylan was the piano player!

BV: Think about that! But he was very kind and very generous about his memories around that whole thing. I left there thinking, “My god, what a memory this guy has,” and then I thought to myself, “That’s what writers do. They remember things and then write about them later. (Source Goldmine Magazine)