The Artist Behind the Song
The original version of “Chantilly Lace” by Jerry Lee Lewis was recorded way back in 1958 and it was a pop hit. The song was written by J. P. Richardson, known professionally as “The Big Bopper.” This song was the only major hit of J. P. Richardson as a performer. He passed away in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa in February 1959.
On Recording A Hit
Jerry Lee Lewis’s cover of “Chantilly Lace” was almost the same with the Big Bopper’s version, even with the spoken parts. Even though it’s pretty much the same, Jerry Lee Lewis did personalize his recording a bit utterly, “This is the Killer Speaking.” Truth be told, Lewis did a lot of talking during the recording session. Listed officially on the record a time of 2:30, the song “Chantilly Lace” was recorded in a single take that lasted for only eight minutes.
Jerry Kennedy, the producer, said it was going so great that he didn’t stop. They didn’t need the “take number” because they did only one. Thereafter, there was a party atmosphere that took hold in the recording studio. And when it was all said and done, Mercury Records initially considered releasing the eight-minute version of the song. Unfortunately, this idea was quickly scrapped when much of the content was found to be too risqué. It’s likely that the public will likely never get to hear the entire take.
At about the five-minute mark, Jerry Lee Lewis got irritated over something. Then he started a profanity-laced fit of rage. However, Kennedy kept the tape machines rolling and let him go for another three minutes. The engineers were able to eliminate all the profanity and successfully edited the track down to a suitable single release. The recording reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart on April 22, 1972. It stayed at the top for three weeks, longer than any other Jerry Lee Lewis record.