Billboard #1 Hits: #25-“Running Bear”- Johnny Preston. #1 January 18, 1960- 3 weeks. Released on Mercury Records. Written by Jiles Perry Richardson- aka “The Big Bopper.” Genre: Pop. Time: 2:38. B-side: “My Heart Knows.” Grade: B
“Running Bear” which was written by The Big Bopper who was killed in the plane crash that killed the great Buddy Holly in February 1959- ‘The Day The Music Died”- was released in August by Preston who was a friend of The Big Bopper’s- singing back ground vocals was George Jones. “Running Bear” not only went to #1 in the United States but also in the UK. Johnny Preston would have three Top 40 hits in 1959-60 and that would be it. “Running Bear” replaced “El Paso” by Marty Robbins in the #1 spot- in both songs the protagonist dies. Johnny Preston died at the age of 71 of heart failure in 2011.