J.P. Richardson, Texas disc jockey who became famous under the name the Big Bopper (“Chantilly Lace”) was born in Sabine Pass, Texas; died in the light plane crash February 3, 1959 that also claimed the life of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens shortly after takeoff.
Richardson worked part-time at Beaumont, Texas, radio station KTRM (now KZZB). He was hired by the station full-time in 1949 and quit college. Richardson was promoted to Supervisor of Announcers at KTRM in 1953.
In March 1955, he was drafted into the United States Army and did his basic training at Fort Ord, California. He spent the rest of his two-years’ service as a radar instructor at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
Following his discharge in March 1957, Richardson returned to KTRM radio, where he held down the “Dishwashers’ Serenade” shift from 11 AM to 12:30 PM, Monday through Friday. One of the station’s sponsors wanted Richardson for a new time slot and suggested an idea for a show. Richardson had seen the college students doing a dance called The Bop, and he decided to call himself “The Big Bopper”. His new radio show ran from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Richardson soon became the station’s program director.
In May 1957, he broke the record for continuous on-air broadcasting by 8 minutes. From a remote setup in the lobby of the Jefferson Theatre in downtown Beaumont, Richardson performed for a total of five days, two hours, and eight minutes, playing 1,821 records and taking showers during 5-minute newscasts.
From the Dick Clark Sarturday Night Show on ABC-TV in 1958…
Richardson is credited for creating the first music video in 1958, and recorded an early example himself.