Tuesday, October 4, 2016

SHG: Bobby Vee: "Run to Him"

Bobby Vee: “Run to Him”
Entered the chart on: 9/18/1961
Peaked on: 12/25/1961
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by the Tokens

Bobby Vee, if I ever think of him at all...actually, let me stop right here. I tend not to think of him at all. He’s never struck me as anyone’s favorite. I can’t imagine legions of raving, screaming, stomping Bobby Vee fans showering him with adulation. He seems like someone who had chart hits mainly to fulfill some kind of quota. The sort of artist where you ask someone about him, they respond with, “Eh, he’s all right I guess.”

Which isn’t to say that his output was completely without worth (he had a decent singing voice and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” was well-crafted, if not quite a masterpiece) but the mere mention of his name doesn’t exactly quicken the pulse.

Now, in my copy of the Whitburn Book, I’ve placed check-marks next to all the songs I’ve heard. This isn’t completely helpful, as there’s no context for it. It doesn’t explain where and under what circumstances I heard it. My guess would be that I was listening to some charts-obsessed oldies radio personality, a Dick Bartley or Casey Kasem presentation, probably. More pertinent for our purposes, just because I’ve heard a song doesn’t mean I’ll remember it years later, and that’s definitely the case with “Run to Him.” Not conjuring up memories of any kind of melody based on the title. So let’s “refresh” my “memory” of this one...

The loping rhythm of this almost makes me feel of an old cowboy song, but the swaths of strings and the drippy Johnny Mann Singers tell us we’re solidly in Bobby Rydell territory. That said, this might be the first teen-idol song I’ve heard done with any sort of competence. Yes, it’s sugary-sweet as hell, but it’s at least well-produced and well-written (Gerry Goffin co-wrote it). Yes, I’ll probably forget it as soon as it’s done playing (again) but Bobby’s singing voice is quite spiffy. No punched notes, no overwrought teenage melodrama, just a sweet melody performed well. The chord and key changes on this are actually surprisingly sophisticated for a tune made to appeal to teenaged girls.

Not in love with this, but I appreciate that it’s not just a quickie done with zero effort and hustled out the door to earn a quick buck. Like most of what I’ve heard from him, perfectly adequate.

Rating: 3

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