Those who have heard of the Big Bopper — real name, Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson, Jr. — typically know him because of this song and because he died in the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens after Waylon Jennings (then a bass player for Holly) gave his seat on the plane to Richardson. The crash also gave rise, of course, to one of my favorite songs of all time, “American Pie.” (And if you want to hear an amazingly touching story about a father, a daughter and that song, go here.)

The Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace” is another of those songs that’s here in large part because Joanna and I love singing along with it when it comes on the radio. After all, I barely know what Chantilly Lace is, and in all the time I’ve known her Joanna has never been much of a giggler (thank God).

But the pretty face, big eyes and “ponytail, hanging down” have all played a part in making her beautifully captivating since long before I met her. (I’ve seen the photos.) She still has all three — along with the strong personality suggested at in the last verse.

Lyrics here, with video below:

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