Bobby Vee had one of the most recognizable voices, and some of the most iconic hits of the early 1960’s. His voice was distinctive and could have a bit of a growl, giving some of his songs an edge in places.
This guy had some monster hits and wrote some of the very early soundtrack of the young lives of many of us, pre-Beatles.
Actually, from some of the dates and hairstyles in the videos, it looks like some of Bobby Vee’s popularity may have overlapped some of the massive changes starting in the mid 60’s.
Rubber Ball is a fun song with a distinctive Buddy Holly influence, understandable since Holly was one of his idols. In fact, Bobby Vee’s career began the night of the tragic plane crash that claimed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Bobby and his band (barely a band at that time) replaced them at the concert where they had been scheduled.
When you think of what makes a classic pop hit, the songs below and others have just what it takes to make them among the best of the early 60’s. They even hold up today.
Bobby Vee’s songs have elements that make for a great pop song – a memorable “hook”, high “haunt count”, key change in the last verse for emphasis.
For example, take Run to Him, written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller (video #4 below).
Hard to describe, but the catchy hook is repeated throughout the song, and then in the last line of vocals (at 1:42) there is a key change and a variation of the entire chord progression. It builds up to a sort of crescendo into timpani, to wrap up the song. The Johnny Mann singers add their classic sound throughout. Great stuff.
Enjoy some of Bobby Vee’s best songs and biggest hits below.