Seven astonishing things I learned today:

  1. Bobby Vee (who died on Monday) was of Norwegian and Finnish heritage. He was born in Fargo, name of Velline.

    Bobby Vee with bouncy-bouncy Rubber Ball
    Bobby Velline with bouncy-bouncy Rubber Ball
  2. During his first U.S. tour, Vee employed a pianist whose real name was Robert Zimmerman, and would soon become Bob Dylan (that much I knew), but who at the time called himself Elston Gunnn. Vee remembered that Gunnn ‘played pretty good in the key of C’.

    Robert Zimmerman
    Robert Zimmerman aka Elston Gunnn
  3. ‘Take Good Care of My Baby’, composed by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, which became Bobby’s only No 1 hit in America and was among his biggest successes in Britain, was sung by the Beatles at the Cavern in Liverpool. George Harrison took care of the vocals and dedicated the song to the children’s charity Barnardo’s.

    Now that we’ve arrived in sixties Liverpool let’s fast forward a decade to those days of yore when, flicking through the racks of vinyl in Probe Records, punters such as me would be entertained by the sight of the teenage Pete Burns (died Sunday) queening it over the entire shop.

    Pete Burns outside Probe Records
    Pete Burns strikes a pose outside Probe Records
  4. Pete Burns’ mother, Eva – Evelina Maria Bettina Quittner von Hudec – was a German aristocrat who had been born in Heidelberg but fled to Vienna because of her Jewish background. There she met a British soldier, Francis Burns, who became her husband.
  5. The young Pete was very close to his mother, speaking only German and a little French until he was five.
  6. His middle name was Jozzeppi.

    Heart attack time
    Heart attack time
  7. In 2006 Pete came close to inducing nationwide cardiac arrests at the sight of him dancing with George Galloway, both of them dressed in lycra leotards, on Celebrity Big Brother.

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2 thoughts on “Seven astonishing things I learned today about Robert Velline, Elston Gunnn, and the son of Evelina Maria Bettina Quittner von Hudec

  1. Did Dylan ever come to UK way back? I have memories of a folk club in West Kirby late 60s… Talking Blues. Just curious, as I did see Bowie at the Phil as a mime with Tyrannosaurus Rex with John Peel as the intro guy (MC?) must have been around 1969?

    Looks like I got the year right!
    IT 50 1969-02-14, p. 23 Ads for Tyrannosaurus Rex with John Peel & friends at Birmingham Town Hall (15 Feb), Croydon, Fairfield Hall (16 Feb), Manchester, Free Trade Hall (22 Feb), Bristol, Colston Hall (23 Feb), Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall (Mar 1) (ad on p. 9, ; Chicken Shack + John Peel at Mothers, Birmingham (2 Mar.)
    (at that point in time T Rex were still Tyrannosaurus Rex, just have to be pedantic here as a fan way back then!)

    1. Yes, Maggie, Dylan did tour the UK – in 65 and 66 – but I’m pretty sure his itinerary didn’t include West Kirby! I’m really intrigued by the idea of Bowie as a mime during the TR concert!

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