Originally called "That's What I Like," this was released as a B-side for another song. While the A-side got some airplay, the "Chantilly Lace" B-side eventually took off, becoming one of the most played songs of 1958. The Big Bopper was a star, and for most of the year he was on tour promoting his record.
The Big Bopper's real name was J.P. Richardson. He was a prominent DJ at KTRM in Beaumont, Texas who had a few hit records of his own. He also become a prolific songwriter, and his songs would later provide hits for Johnny Preston with "Running Bear" and George Jones with "White Lightnin." He died on Feb 3, 1959 in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. This day was immortalized in Don McLean's song "American Pie" as "The day the music died."
In 1958, the Big Bopper recorded three music videos for his songs: "Chantilly Lace," "Big Bopper's Wedding" and "Little Red Riding Hood" (all three videos were recorded the same day). He also coined the term "rock video" in a printed interview in 1959. According to Bill Griggs, editor of the Rockin' 50s music magazine, the Big Bopper was convinced that video was the wave of the future and, at the time of his death, he was preparing to start production on music videos for TV and a specially designed jukebox that would play videos.
This was featured in the films American Graffiti (1973), The Buddy Holly Story (1978) and La Bamba (1987).
The spoken intro to this song "Hellooooo, baby. Yeah, this is the Big Bopper speakin'..." is typical DJ patter, which was The Big Bopper's bailiwick. By saying his name at the beginning of the song, Bopper made it clear who the artist was and that much easier for listeners to ask for it at record stores. This introduction intro is a potent marketing device, and one that was used in many more songs throughout the years, especially hip-hop tunes that work well with speaking parts.
This was the last song performed at the Clear Lake, Iowa concert the night Holly, Valens and Richardson died.
The starlet Jayne Mansfield recorded an answer song called "That Makes It," where she used the same one-sided phone call technique and replaced Bopper's "You know what I like" catch phrase with "That Makes It." She sang it in the 1966 movie The Las Vegas Hillbillys