I don't care what anyone thinks, I'm doing this as a weekly feature. So much knowledge in my head, and nowhere to put it...until now.
At any rate, our "TMS" this week is about a #1 hit...with a dead man singing background vocals. Peeved your interest, have I?? Trust me, this story is absolutely true. It might sound boring, but there is a payoff to this. And away we go...
The first #1 hit on Billboard magazine's "Hot 100" charts for the 1960s, is a song called "Running Bear", by Johnny Preston. This was the song that sat at #1 on 1-1-1960. But our story isn't about Johnny Preston. It's about the two background vocalists...one of whom was dead.
In fact, he was dead almost a full year before the song hit #1.
The dead man knew Johnny Preston, and also the other background guy. Turns out that he wrote the best-known hit in the background guy's career. You might have heard of it: "White Lightning". You know, George Jones. It's "the ol' Possum" himself, doing the high-pitched whoops in the background on "Running Bear". The deep background voice, however, belongs to a man named J. P. Richardson.
Known also as...the "Big Bopper".
Who was on the plane that took off from Clear Lake, IA on 2-3-1959...with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Yes, THAT plane crash.
Now, it's fairly obvious that "Running Bear" was recorded before the crash. The fact is, the song was released towards the end of '59...and thus hit #1 on the 1st of January, 1960.
And there you have it. The story of how a dead man sings background vocals on a #1 hit, 10 months after dying in a plane crash. Who says you can't learn something on the Internet??
Until our next outing, I'm DC Sports Nut...and this has been a "True Media Story".