1960s pop singer Bobby Vee dead at 73

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Bobby Vee. Photo credit: Harry Pot / Anefo - Nationaal Archief

Bobby Vee, the 1960s pop singer known for hits like "Take Good Care of My Baby," has died. He was 73 and had been living with Alzheimer's disease.

Born Robert Velline in Fargo, North Dakota, his big break came at the age of 15 when he took the stage in Moorhead, Minnesota as a fill-in after the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly.

Just months after the Moorhead show, Bobby Vee and his band, The Shadows, had a hit with their song "Suzie Baby." Bobby Vee recorded 38 Top 100 hits in his career. 

"Its a sad day for many people. His family. His fans. People who've been touched by him as a person as well as his music," Vee's former musical director George Mauer said.

Mauer became Vee's keyboard player in the early 2000's and toured with him after Vee's music experienced a revival in Europe. He says he got a chance to say goodbye to his friend at the hospice care facility he lived at in Rogers.

"He remembered me and sat down at the piano next to me. He hummed all the songs. He couldn't remember the words but he remembered every single melody to all those songs. It was a special moment to say so long to him, " Mauer said.

Mauer is also the musical director for Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee story, which runs through this weekend at the History Center in St Paul.

Here’s a look at some of his top singles and their Billboard chart positions:

"Take Good Care of My Baby," hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart in September 1961.

"Run to Him," hit No. 2 on Hot 100 in December 1961.

"The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," hit No. 3 on Hot 100 in February 1963,

"Come Back When You Grow Up," hit No. 3 on Hot 100 in September 1967.

"Devil or Angel," hit No. 6 on Hot 100 in October 1960.

"Rubber Ball," hit No. 6 on Hot 100 in January 1961.

"Charms," hit No. 13 on Hot 100 in May 1963.“

“Please Don't Ask About Barbara," hit No. 15 on Hot 100 in April 1962.

"Sharing You," hit No. 15 on Hot 100 in July 1962.

"Punish Her," hit No. 20 on Hot 100 in October 1962.

Bobby Vee is credited with helping launch the career of a young Bob Dylan. In the summer of 1959, Dylan – playing as “Elston Gunn” – briefly toured with Vee. It was actually Dylan who suggested Robert Velline change his stage name to Bobby Vee.