Category Archives: The Big Bopper
This week’s show commemorated the 50th anniversary of the deaths of rock’n’roll icons Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Jiles Perry Richardson, better known as ‘The Big Bopper’. As Don Maclean sings in ‘American Pie’: “it’s the day the music died”.
Of the three, Buddy Holly in particular had an enormous influence over our musical history. Its hard to believe that he was only 22 years of age when he died, leaving us with a legacy of over 30 timeless hits. Valens is revered for his guitar technique and as the prototypical Latino rocker who anticipated the careers of everybody from Santana to Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys.
The Bopper wrote country music hits for other artists and is credited with creating the first distinct music video. Newly discovered evidence suggests the Big Bopper is also the creator of the world’s first music video. Up until now it was assumed Ricky Nelson’s 1961 “Travelin’ Man” was the first music video, but the Big Bopper actually produced a music video as early as 1958. According to Bill Griggs, editor of the “Rockin’ 50s” music magazine, the Bopper not only made a video for “Chantilly Lace” in 1958 he even coined the term “music video” in a 1959 article. Griggs says the 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 which would play videos. The Big Bopper’s day job was as a DJ on Radio KTRM and based on this clip he was quite the showman.
Holly, Valens and Richardson died together in a plane crash as did quite a few other well known performers, so it seemed a good opportunity to try and honour as many of them as I could during this 2 hours. Stars like Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Ricky Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan all died in aviation accidents and some at a very young age and/or at the peak of their careers.
Randy Rhoads played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. Despite his short career, he is cited as an influence by many contemporary heavy metal guitarists. A devoted student of classical guitar, Rhoads often combined his classical music influences with his own heavy metal style.
While on tour with Ozzy Osbourne he would often seek out classical guitar tutors for lessons. Propelled by Rhoads’ neo-classical guitar work, the album ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ proved an instant hit with rock fans, particularly in the USA. He died at 25. The song I played from the Blizzard album was the hit “Crazy Train” which is a great showcase for this amazing musician.
Another great guitarist, who died in an aviation accident, was Stevie Ray Vaughan. His broad appeal made him an influential electric blues guitarist. He, too, died at a very young age – 35 – in a helicopter accident. Eric Clapton and his band were in other helicopters in the group, travelling together on tour. Everyone else arrived safely and they didn’t realise that the helicopter transporting Stevie Ray Vaughan hadn’t made it until several hours later. Eric Clapton was one of the two people who had to identify Vaughan’s body. And here, due to the wonderful access that You Tube gives us, is what is presented as a guitar lesson from the man himself – but really its so much more than that.
So many great artists and not enough room here to pay tribute. I’ll let the music do that. During the show we covered a lot of Buddy Holly as well as all the other great artists who died in similar circumstances to him. And we played some great covers by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Los Lobos, k.d.lang and others. Here’s the list:
American Pie – Don McLean
‘The Day the Music Died’ Radio News Flash (original news broadcast of the crash)
Rave On – Buddy Holly
La Bamba – Richie Valens
Chantilly Lace – The Big Bopper
Rattlesnakin’ Daddy – Hawkshaw Hawkins
Alabam – Copas Country
Crazy – Patsy Cline
Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynard Skynard
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Maybe baby – Buddy Holly
Little Darlin – The Diamonds
Sukiyaki – Kyu Sakamoto
Traveling Man – Ricky Nelson
Pride And Joy – Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
One Way Out – The Allman Brothers Band Blues
Thank God I’m A Country Boy – John Denver
Million Dollar Riff – Skyhooks
If I Had Only Known – Reba McEntire
Words Of Love – The Beatles
True Love Ways – Peter & Gordon (Buddy Holly cover)
Cryin’ Waitin’ Hopin’ – Wreckless Eric (Buddy Holly cover)
Come On Lets Go – Los Lobos (Ritchie Valens cover)
Hello Mary Lou – Creedence Clearwater Revival (Ricky Nelson cover)
Not Fade Away – The Rolling Stones (Buddy Holly cover)
Respect – Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding cover)
Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray – k.d. lang (Patsy Cline cover)
Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter Paul & Mary (John Denver cover)
Oh Boy – Buddy Holly
Next week, we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a lot of songs with ‘Heart’ in them. Tune in!
Lyn McCarthy can be heard on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time. Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org