Posted by themusicsover on February 3, 2010
October 24, 1930 – February 3, 1959
J.P. Richardson, or as he was more commonly known, The Big Bopper was an early rock ‘n roll disc jockey turned pop star thanks to his big hit, “Chantilly Lace.” He was also a successful songwriter who wrote “White Lightning” which became a hit by George Jones, and “Running Bear”, a hit by Johnny Preston. Richardson began his career on radio during the late ’40s. His first big claim to fame came in May of 1957 when he set the continuous on-air record by broadcasting non-stop for five days, two hours and eight minutes. During that time he played over 1800 records. In 1959, he reportedly coined the phrase “music video” when he made one of himself. But shortly thereafter, tragedy struck. On February 3, 1959 – the date that has been called “the day the music died,” Richardson was killed in one of pop music’s most tragic events. While on a U.S. mid west tour called the Winter Dance Party, Richardson, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens were on a small Beechcraft airplane en route from Mason City, IA to Moorhead, MN. The winter weather was taking its toll on the traveling musicians. Waylon Jennings had originally been slated to fly ahead, but gave up his seat to Richardson at the last minute. Shortly after take off, the plane carrying rock ‘n roll’s brightest new stars crashed into an empty field killing everyone on board. Initial reports blamed pilot error on Roger Peterson, but future examinations vindicated him, putting the blame squarely on the bad weather conditions. The elder statesman of the group, The Big Bopper died at the age of 28.
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