The late singer and guitarist best known as the Big Bopper will be among this year’s inductees to the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Doris Welle of Milford, with the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association, says the Big Bopper, or J.P. Richardson, was among those killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake after a Surf Ballroom show nearly 51 years ago.

“He made a significant impact on music in Iowa,” Welle says. “His career might’ve been fairly short, due to his death in the plane crash with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens, but he had really made his mark with Iowa rock ‘n’ roll fans.” While Richardson has been gone nearly five decades, Welle says his legacy lives on in Iowa.

“His music is still played, it’s still danced to, it’s still sung along with,” Welle says. “His son, Bopper Junior, comes to Iowa every year and performs because he has a huge fan base here.” Both Holly and Valens have already been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.


The Hall of Fame induction weekend is September 4th and 5th at Arnolds Park. A total of 11 bands, five solo performers, three ballrooms, a disc jockey and a radio station will be honored during the ceremony. For more details, visit ““.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City