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The rest of the story: Rock’s roots

by Tom Chillemi

Thanks to Southside Sentinel reader Tom Feigum of Hartfield, a little-known fact about early rock-and-roll history came to light recently.

Feigum said the Sentinel story about the death of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens in a plane crash brought back memories of “the day the music died”—Feb. 3, 1959.

Feigum was a high school freshman in Fargo, North Dakota, just across the bridge from Moorehead, Minnesota, where those music groups had been scheduled to play.

Without a headline act, the promoters scrambled and found a local band that had gotten radio play in the area. This band, which practiced in the garage next door to Feigum’s house the previous summer, had a 15-year-old lead singer named Bobby Velline, a sophomore at Feigum’s high school.

Due to the fateful plane crash, a fledgling band filled in for the nationally known groups. The performance by “Bobby Vee and the Shadows” was a success and gave the big break to a lead singer, who had shortened his last name from Velline to Vee.

Bobby Vee’s high tenor voice was the sound of youth and the future of rock music. He went on to put records on the Top-40 charts for 10 years. “Take Good Care of My Baby” was #1 in 1961; “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes” made it to #3 in 1963; and “Come Back When You Grow Up,” was #3 in 1967.

posted 04.01.2009

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