Jiles Perry Richardson, JR. (* 24. October 1930 in Sabine Pass (Texas), † 3. February 1959), better known as The Big Bopper, named by his friends Jape, was a disc jockey who became a rock’n’roll Star formerly through his voice and his lively personality.
He was born in Sabine Pass, Texas, as the eldest son of Jiles Perry Senior and Elise (Stalsby) Richardson. His two younger brothers were called Cecil and James. The family moved to Beaumont, Texas, where Jiles 1947 visited Beaumont High School and became a member of the Football Team "Royal Purple".
Richardson later studied law at Lamar College and joined a band and the choir there. During this time he worked part-time at the radio station KTRM. On the 18th. April 1952 he married Adrianne Joy Fryou. In 1955, Richardson joined the US Army, where he served two years in Fort Bliss. After his release, he began to work again at KTRM and moderated Monday to Friday of 11.00 to 12.30h the program "Dishwashers’ Serenade".
One of KTRM’s sponsors wanted Richardson changed to another broadcast time. As an advertisement, Richardson called himself from this point on "The Big Bopper!", after the dance" The Bop "was popular at this time. He got a new program and shortly thereafter became a program director of the station.
In May of the year 1957, Jape Richardson moderated five days, two hours and eight minutes in a row, exceeded the old record for 8 minutes. He played 1.821 title. The only longer interruptions were only the five minutes long news, which he used to take a shower. While this marathon, which brought him $ 746.50 for overtime, he lost 16 kg body weight.
At this time Richardson began to write songs. George Jones later took his title "White Lightning", which was number 1 in the Country Charts. Richardson also wrote "Running Bear" for his friend Johnny Preston, where he participated as background singer. However, the title was only published in September 1959, so after his death, but then rose up to 1st 1 of the charts.
It was Harold "Pappy" Dailey of the Richardsons singing career in the way. Dailey worked at Mercury Records and helped Richardson to a contract. Richardsons first single "Beggar to a king" was not successful and did not come to the charts. His second attempt "Chantilly Lace" was published in the summer of 1958. The title rose to 16th place in the charts and stayed under the top40 22 weeks.
With the success of "Chantilly Lace" Richardson retired from Ktrm and participated in Buddy Holly, The Crickets, Ritchie Valens, and Dion & The Belmonts at the "Winter Dance Party" tour. On 2. February 1959 chartered Buddy Holly a Beechcraft Bonanza to fly with Valens and the members of his band "The Crickets" (Tommy Allsup and Waylon Jennings) to Fargo. Because Richardson had the flu and therefore did not want to drive by bus, Waylon gave him his ticket.
In the early morning of the 3. February, after an appearance in the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake (Iowa), lifted the small, four-seat Beechcraft Bonanza during a dense blizzard and crashed a few minutes later in a cereal field. At the misfortune Kamen Holly, Valens, Richardson and the Pilot Roger Peterson. This tragedy became known as The Day The Music Died (German: The Day on which the music died). This designation was used by Don McLean in his Ballade American Pie.
The 28-year-old Richardson left his wife Adrianne Joy, his four-year-old daughter Debra Joy and his son Jay P. Richardson, who was born after his death. Richardson had built a recording studio in his house in Beaumont and planned to participate in a radio station. In addition, 20 songs already existed, which he wanted to record both solo and together with other artists.
In 1988, the fan Ken Paquette built a steel monument on the crash site – consisting of a guitar and three records, each bearing the name of one of the three artists. A similar monument was created by him near the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the on the 17th. July 2003 was revealed.
Many people still remember the Big Bopper, not only because of his unusual voice and the titles written by him, but also because of his humorous nature and his ability to combine elements of Country, R & B and the Rock’n’Roll.