February 03, 2005
The day the music died

February 3, 1959, was the day in which a plane crash killed rock musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. "Jape" Richardson, a/k/a The Big Bopper. Here's a great article about the life of The Bopper, who was a disk jockey in Beaumont before he began his recording career. Here's something I'll bet you didn't know:

[In the fall of 1958], Jape also told a British magazine about another idea he had: He called them "music videos." He imagined a jukebox that played both music and a short film of the artist singing it. He'd filmed three of his own songs and had proposed the idea to his producers.

"It will ultimately become standard practice for every record artist to make a film of himself performing his record," he told DISC magazine, which published its story under the headline "Records will Be Filmed!" in January 1959.

"We owe J.P. Richardson, The Big Bopper, much more credit than just for Chantilly Lace," says rock expert Bill Griggs of Rockin' 50s magazine.

Indeed. Rest in peace, J.P. Richardson.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 03, 2005 to Music | TrackBack

I remember seeing these things from jazz musicians such as Louis Jordan, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, going back to the 40s (I just can't remember where they were being played-- I think on a PBS special years ago). I think they were produced as shorts for movie reels, but had all the hallmarks of music video production.

The Big Bopper was the DJ of choice for the teens in Beaumont in the 50s (including my mother and uncle)... another interesting fact from his son's website: "In May of '57 he broadcast for six days straight, spinning 1,821 records and established a world record for continuous broadcasting."

Posted by: norbizness on February 3, 2005 9:58 AM

I recall learning that some of the earliest motion pictures with sound were jazz recordings that were filmed by the original performers. The PBS special referred to above, "Jazz" (created by Ken Burns), also featured many of these recordings.

Posted by: William Hughes on February 3, 2005 11:09 AM

I'm sure that the morality police would be interested in finding out where the root of the moral decline in America originated. Now we now. The Big Bopper is the intellectual father of MTV. Sect. Spellings are you listening??

Posted by: Chris on February 3, 2005 11:49 AM