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Chantilly Lace

by

The Big Bopper



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Originally called "That's What I Like," this was released as a B-side for another song. While the A-side got some airplay, the "Chantilly Lace" B-side eventually took off, becoming one of the most played songs of 1958. The Big Bopper was a star, and for most of the year he was on tour promoting his record.
The Big Bopper's real name was J.P. Richardson. He was a prominent DJ at KTRM in Beaumont, Texas who had a few hit records of his own. He also become a prolific songwriter, and his songs would later provide hits for Johnny Preston with "Running Bear" and George Jones with "White Lightnin." He died on Feb 3, 1959 in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. This day was immortalized in Don McLean's song "American Pie" as "The day the music died."
In 1958, the Big Bopper recorded three music videos for his songs: "Chantilly Lace," "Big Bopper's Wedding" and "Little Red Riding Hood" (all 3 videos were recorded the same day). He also coined the term "rock video" in a printed interview in 1959. According to Bill Griggs, editor of the Rockin' 50s music magazine, the Big Bopper was convinced that video was the wave of the future and, at the time of his death, he was preparing to start production on music videos for TV and a specially designed jukebox that would play videos. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above)
This was featured in the films American Graffiti (1973), The Buddy Holly Story (1978) and La Bamba (1987). (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
This was the last song performed at the Clear Lake, Iowa concert the night Holly, Valens and Richardson died.
The starlet Jayne Mansfield recorded an answer song called "That Makes It," where she used the same one-sided phone call technique and replaced Bopper's "You know what I like" catch phrase with "That Makes It." She sang it in the 1966 movie The Las Vegas Hillbillys. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments (19):

I goofed!!! Mitch Ryder combined 'Chantilly Lace' with Lloyd Price's 'Personality' and his version was a medley of both songs...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
Mitch Ryder covered this song in 1968, it peaked at No. 87; Jerry Lee Lewis' 1972 version reached No. 43 on Billboard's Pop chart...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I was born 1 1/2 years after his untimly death, and still today, The Big Bopper Rocks!
- Marty, Lee, MA
I'm now 63 years old (2008). And, to prove a point, I often ask young people to "name the 3 rockers killed in that famous plane crash of 1959." No surprise, they can do it! I maintain that The Big Bopper has to be the luckiest guy in Rock history - immortalized just for being on that flight. Ask those kids if they can name another 1-hit wonder from 1959 and, of course, they can't. It's my theory that The Big Bopper RAN for that plane. Best career move he ever made. R.I.P.
- Gilbert, La Mesa, CA
I have this record by Herb Zane on the Deluxe label named "The Man In The Phone Booth". I wonder if The Big Bopper inspired himself on this song to make "Chantilly Lace" Here's a clip of that song: "http://bellsouthpwp.net/r/o/rockinjrock1/Herb%20Zane%20-%20the%20man.wma"
Jose Lopez, Florida
- Jose, Homestead, FL
"Chantilly Lace" really gets me hoppin' and boppin' off my feet. Well, if I really knew how to hop and bop correctly. LOL Anyway, I reminisce about the Old Time Rock-And-Roll just like Bob Seger does. Big Bopper, you are an expert of the '50s rock-and-roll! I'd get your autograph if I could.
- andrew, birmingham, United States
This song is also featured prominently in the 1980's comedy, "High Spirits". Steve Guttenberg is wooing Daryl Hannah, but stumped for a love poem, he recites the chorus to "Chantilly Lace".
- Chris, Meridian, ID
i own 4 pieces of sheet music thats by The Big Bopper. it was in his briefcase and was on the plane that crashed 2-3-59. i bought it from his son and have 2 letters of Authenticity from him. I feel proud to own these. Thank you- "BearhugColorado@aol.com"
- Darrell, Westminster, CO
The original A-side was "The Purple People Eater Meets The Witch Doctor," which was also recorded by Joe South for the National Recording Corporation. Jerry Lee Lewis had a #1 country chart hit with this song in 1972.
- Bradley, Bemidji, MN
Uncle is 'sort of' right; however, the Christian name was spelled "Jape," according to: http://earcandy_mag.tripod.com/rrcase-bigbopper.htm
And
http://www.wikipedia.com ;
and yes, the Bopper was the first pioneer of the Music Video as we know it today.
- Tim, wertewteg, AL
Also makes an appearance in the horror-comedy movie Parents which depicts stereotypically 1950's-esque parents--except something SEEMS to be WRONG! A fun movie, though I thought Chantilly Lace's inclusion was a bit gratuitous (the girlfriend thought it was cool, though!).
- fyodor, Denver, CO
I'd like to know what garment it was that the girl was wearing. Chantilly is a town North of Paris known at one time as a centre for fine lacemaking. They made cream lace and black lace. Maybe the girl was wearing a shawl? Was there anything in the late fifties that was as much a signature as the "pony tail". This was the time of the hula-hoop craze. Pony tails and the hoops have all gone. Maybe this is a reference to the girl's underwear but I doubt it at this stage in the history of pop music. Chantilly Lace is also a type of decoration for ice cream. Any better ideas? JOHN THE POET
According to the World Almanac, J P Richardson's name was Jiles Perry Richardson
- Grant, Oak Park, CA
I meant that videos became popular in 1981, not 1961.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
On Johnny Preston's hit Running Bear that The Big Bopper Wrote, that is actually The Big Bopper and George Jones making the Indian sounds in the background!
- Allen, Dothan, AL
I have always thought there was something a bit lascivious about the Bopper's comments to his girlfriend on the phone. Makes me wonder what on earth she was telling him.
- Wes, Springfield, VA
If The big Bopper was doing music videos for his songs, then he was light years ahead of his time! Most artists didn't start doing music videos until the '60's. In facts, "Day Tripper', Inthink, is considered to be one of the first ones. I don't know though. Besides, music videos didn't become popular until 1961, when MTV went on the air.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Actually, Factually, and by Law of the Government, the Big Bopper's given name was Jiles Perry Richardson, That's what JP Stands For.
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
To clear up a popular misconception....many people think that The Big Bopper's real name was J. P. Richardson. In fact, his real name was Jaype Richardson. That's the way he signed it. Pronounced JP but spelled out as a name, Jaype.
Not fiction, but fact from Uncle's Almanac.
- Uncle, Philly, PA
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