Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Take Good Care ..."

The news came yesterday that singer Bobby Vee, 73, had died. (Link to NYT obit.) I'll turn 72 in a couple of weeks, so he and I could have been in high school together. (Hmmm ... who would have been the more popular?) His actual last name was Velline.

I remember back in those high-school days (1958-62) being a little alarmed when I discovered that some rock-and-roll celebrity was about my age. There I sat in study hall, trying to look as if I were doing something, and guys like Bobby Vee were off somewhere being famous. Their pictures were pasted on the notebook covers of some girls in our school. Mine was not.

I'd totally forgotten about him until the news broke. And, reading the obit, I was stunned to see that he had first had a break because of that plane crash that had killed Buddy Holly (and the Big Bopper and Richie Valens) on February 3, 1959. (I was in 9th grade.) Vee stepped in to perform that night. He was fifteen years old.

I remember his hits, now that I see them listed, but if you had played them for me last week and asked me who the singer was, I could not have told you. As I said, I'd totally forgotten him--though not the songs.  Here are the ones I remember most clearly:
  • 1960: "Devil or Angel?" and "Rubber Ball"
  • 1961: "Take Good Care of My Baby" and "Run to Him"
He kept recording, but none of the titles I see listed in his discography ring any bells. Here's a link to a YouTube video of him singing "Take Good Care."

I do remember that his music was very much a part of our sock hops at the Hiram Schools--7th grade through high school. I remember his music on the radio--all the time it seemed.

And then ... he drifted away. The Beatles and The Stones arrived. Pop music both hardened and gained a sharper edge, and Vee and others with a similar sound were, well, passé.

The Times tells us that he had kept touring--and also notes that he was a talented rhythm guitarist.

And then Alzheimer's--the fate of Glen Campbell, of course, a decline chronicled in a good documentary about Campbell, I'll Be Me, 2014. (Link to the entire film on YouTube.)

Joyce and I saw Campbell during his farewell tour on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at the Kent Stage  (used to be a movie theater on Main Street). Campbell was clearly losing it--but could still play the hell out of that guitar. His grown children performed with them. (I blogged about this at the time--here's a link to that post.) Tickets to the concert were among Joyce's gifts to me for my 68th birthday on Nov. 11.

Anyway, Bobby Vee appeared to have had a fine life--flashes of fame eventually dimmed (as they always do), but he continued doing what he loved for as long as he possibly could. Which is exactly what I am trying to do.

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