At Gunther Toody’s the Big Bopper refers to our amazing $3.49 weekday breakfast special which offers guests two eggs (any way you like them), hash browns, a choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo, Polish sausage or ham and wheat or white toast. But did you know from whom the inspiration for the name came? The Big Bopper breakfast is our way to honor the life and tragic death of Jiles Perry “J.P.” Richardson Jr., known as the Big Bopper. Born in 1930, Richardson was a struggling Texas songwriter and radio disc jockey. He named himself The Big Bopper after watching high school students dancing a dance called The Bop. After writing many songs for other people to perform, including the George Jones’ number 1 country hit “White Lightning”, The Big Bopper finally got his big break with the release of “Chantilly Lace” which hit number 6 on the pop charts.
Just as The Big Bopper was beginning to break the hearts of thousands of bobbysocks wearing teenage girls across the U.S., tragedy struck. He was invited to join Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings and Ritchie Valens for a “Winter Dance Party” tour across twenty-four Midwestern cities. On February 3, after 11 days of driving in a broken-down bus, Holly chartered a plane to take them to their next show in Moorhead Minnesota. Richardson was suffering from the flu and Waylon Jennings offered him his seat on the plane, which mysteriously crashed only minutes after take off killing everyone on board. In 1971, Don McLean commemorated the event with his son “American Pie” and it has been known as “The Day the Music Died” ever since. We will never know what might have become of The Big Bopper or what musical memories he may have created, but we will always have “Chantilly Lace” and that will have to be enough.