BEAUMONT - Nearly 48 years after his death in rock 'n' roll's first major tragedy, pop star J.P. Richardson - known better as The Big Bopper - will have something more than a headstone to mark his place in Beaumont's history.
Next week, the day before a Port Arthur concert pays tribute to the Beaumont radio deejay who struck gold with the 1959 hit, "Chantilly Lace," a historical marker will be installed at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
But the plaque won't be at Richardson's grave. It will be erected nearby at a specially chosen site where the remains of The Bopper (and possibly his widow Teetsie) will be moved later.
Richardson was only 28 on the snowy night in Clear Lake, Iowa, when a small plane carrying The Bopper, and rockers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens crashed minutes after take-off. The Feb. 3, 1959, tragedy was later immortalized by singer Don McLean as "the day the music died" in his pop dirge "American Pie."
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