Today’s post comes from Wessew
For me the music died on Monday, October 24, 2016 with the death of Bobby Vee.
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper) and pilot Roger Peterson left Clear Lake, Iowa for a flight to Fargo, North Dakota. They were to perform at the Moorhead, Minnesota Armory as a continuation of the Winter Party Dance tour. They never arrived as they died when the plane crashed into an Iowa cornfield, February 3, 1959. As news of the tragedy spread in the Fargo-Moorhead area, word went out for performers to substitute for the lost tour members. Fifteen year old Robert Velline and his newly formed group volunteered, were chosen to play and the show went on. The Shadows, as they called themselves on the spot, were well received and Bobby Vee went on to a stellar career before succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. My parents attended that event. It’s not that they were big rock and roll fans but we lived just a short walk from the Armory in Moorhead and were acquaintances of the Velline family. So they went as a show of support for Bobby and his brother Bill, one of the guitar players in the band. My sisters and I remained at home with Grandma. I have no recollection of disappointment in being excluded from “making the scene.” Seeing as how I was only 6, the entertainment value would likely have been lost on me.
Over the years, the significance of the deaths and dance became more pronounced for me. Collecting the recordings was a given. I’m not big into memorabilia but if only Dad and Mom had kept those ticket stubs what a treasure they would be! I became a fan of Holly and Vee. Not so for my parents. It never seemed to matter much to them that they had been part of music history. I have been able to piece together a pretty good picture of what they experienced. They were in their late twenties so were a bit out of place among a crowd of teenagers. Not surprisingly, given my Dad’s two left feet, they didn’t dance at all. They did watch the Shadows perform but left early and didn’t see Dion and The Belmonts.
Time marches on and it is now the late sixties. KQWB radio began promoting a celebrity basketball team composed of the station’s DJ’s and a few college players. The advertising spot included a sampling of the backup singers for Bobby Vee’s hit record, “Rubber Ball” which in 1968 was now a golden oldie. They sang, “Bouncy, Bouncy. Bouncy, Bouncy.” KQWB 1550 was always on our car and home radios so we heard that little jingle frequently. Well, my Father swore that Bobby Vee had sung that song in 1959. The song wasn’t recorded until 1961 but no amount of evidence could disabuse him of the notion that he had heard it years before. The Vellines were no longer in our social circle, so there was no appeal to authority from that source. Now with the Internet, it is easy to prove how wrong he was but back when I was in high school, information resources were rather meager and it was probably best to let the matter drop in any case. But every once in a while the “issue” would come up. Dad would reaffirm his theory that many musicians play songs before they record them. The fact that Gene Pitney and Aaron Schroeder wrote the song, not Bobby Vee, leaves him unfazed. The mysterious song had become part of a conspiracy. The voices in Dad’s head are like a rubber ball going “bouncy, bouncy.”
Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory?