I post a lot of obituaries, but this was the rare one where seeing it made me instinctively exclaim out loud: "Oh no!" I've loved his most famous song, "Take Good Care of My Baby," since I was a young child. It's quintessential early '60s, pre-Beatles pop. Bob Dylan fans in particular should read this to the end...There's a good chance that I was the one the played him "Take Good Care of My Baby," when John was not much more than a baby. I got the idea early on that rock 'n' roll oldies were sort of children's songs. (I know the exact song that caused this idea: "Ya Ya" by Lee Dorsey.) I bought many rock 'n' roll oldies cassettes and we played them in the car all the time, and I guess "Take Good Care of My Baby" was in there somewhere. I wonder if we talked about the lyrics (which were written by Carole King).
Take good care of my babyI can imagine myself saying something like Why does Bobby Vee think that the other man has the power to send the woman where he chooses to send her? Wouldn't the woman just go where she wants to go? And why would she want to go back to Bobby Vee when he admits he cheated on her?
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me
As for the Bob Dylan connection, for us big Bob Dylan fans, the first thing we think of when we hear "Bobby Vee" is "Bob Dylan." Here's what Bob Dylan wrote about Bobby Vee in his great book "Chronicles: Volume One":
Bobby Vee was from Fargo, North Dakota, raised not too far from me. In the summer of ’59 he had a regional hit record out called “Suzie Baby” on a local label. His band was called The Shadows and I had hitchhiked out there and talked my way into joining his group as a piano player on some of his local gigs, one in the basement of a church. I played a few shows with him, but he really didn’t need a piano player and, besides, it was hard finding a piano that was in tune in the halls that he played.Dylan talks about going to see Bobby Vee at the Brooklyn Paramount Theater:
Bobby Vee and me had a lot in common, even though our paths would take such different directions. We had the same musical history and came from the same place at the same point of time. He had gotten out of the Midwest, too, and had made it to Hollywood. Bobby had a metallic, edgy tone to his voice and it was as musical as a silver bell, like Buddy Holly’s, only deeper. When I knew him, he was a great rockabilly singer and now he had crossed over and was a pop star. He recorded for Liberty Records and was having one Top 40 hit after another. He’d still be having songs hit the charts even right alongside The Beatles when they invaded the country. His current song, “Take Good Care of My Baby,” was as slick as ever....
He was on the top of the heap now. It seemed like so much had happened to him in such a short time. Bobby came out to see me, was as down-to-earth as ever, was wearing a shiny silk suit and narrow tie, seemed genuinely glad to see me, didn’t even act surprised. We talked for a little while. He asked me about New York, what it was like to be here. “Lot of walking. Got to keep your feet in good shape,” I said.That was when Dylan was playing in the folk clubs, and Dylan thought that Bobby Vee wouldn't really get the NYC folk scene, since folk to him would have meant "The Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, stuff like that." Vee was "a crowd pleaser in the pop world," and Dylan "had nothing against pop songs," but they didn't seem as good to him anymore. So Dylan kept the meeting short. Bobby Vee had "throngs of young girls" waiting for him anyway. And:
I wouldn’t see Bobby Vee again for another thirty years, and though things would be a lot different, I’d always thought of him as a brother. Every time I’d see his name somewhere, it was like he was in the room.