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J.P. was born on April 28, 1959, three months after the fateful plane crash that took his father's life. He was raised by his mother, Adrian Joy Richardson, in Beaumont, TX. J.P. played football at Beaumont High, just as his father did. He graduated from Beaumont High exactly 30 years after his father.
J.P. knew little about his father when he was growing up. The memories of the Big Bopper's death were too painful for his mother, and there were no pictures or records of his father in their home. During summers spent with his grandparents J.P. learned that his father had been an outgoing radio personality and musician who wrote several pop and country hits. It was here that J. P. first listened to his father's music.
In 1989, movie producers began inquiring about a possible "Big Bopper" movie. It was then that J.P. really learned about his father. For the first time J.P. and his mother discussed who his father had been and what it meant to be the Big Bopper. At this time J.P. also went through his father's possessions that had sat in storage for years.
In the early 90's J.P. owned a nightclub called The Little Bopper. Late one evening Frankie Ford (Sea Cruise), heard J.P. singing Chantilly Lace while playing billiards. Ford was so impressed by J.P.'s similarity to the Bopper that he urged J.P. to take up a performing as a tribute to his father.
When J.P. started performing, he was initially concerned about filling his father's shoes. J.P. no longer worries about that: "My father was a one of a kind original. I am not trying to be him. What I do is a tribute to my father and it seems to work out fine. Everywhere we go, we get great fan reaction and positive response."
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