The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson, Jr.), a music visionary and the gifted songwriter/singer of CHANTILLY LACE, died at 28 in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.
His son Jay P. Richardson was born 84 days later.
“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame lists CHANTILLY LACE as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll,” says Jay, “but Dad hasn’t been inducted with Buddy and Ritchie.”
“Dad deserves this recognition not because of his death or because he wrote three songs that topped the charts but because he is now recognized as the innovator of the music video.”
Bopper’s music or persona have also been a staple in films from “American Graffiti” to “Happy Feet” to “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
“As the anniversaries fly by, I worry about keeping his music alive. I need all his fans, young and old, to write the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame requesting his induction.”
“Elvis has Priscilla and Buddy has Maria Elena to carry on their legacies. My mother was so devastated by Dad’s death, decades passed before she could speak about him. I need to make up for lost time.”
Jay (Bopper, Jr.) tours with the Winter Dance Party tribute show (www.winterdanceparty.com) so he meets many of the original fans…and their children…and grandchildren.
“Emails from teenagers in places like Holland or Australia arrive weekly, saying their parents or grandparents loved the music and passed that love to them. These young fans will keep Dad’s memory alive – his music cuts across age and cultural boundaries.”
RUNNING BEAR, WHITE LIGHTNIN’ and BEGGAR TO A KING are his best-known compositions – listen to a mix on www.chantillylacethemusical.com. A prolific songwriter, The Big Bopper recorded many of his own songs (a greatest hit compilation of 19 is available at Amazon.)
The Big Bopper’s own story remains untold – a slight Jay hopes to rectify with planned film and stage projects THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED (www.bigboppermovie.com) and the stage musical CHANTILLY LACE.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (www.rockhall.com) is at 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.