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COMPANY PROFILE


 JOHN Cumberland


Metal mogul boss pins hopes on Big Bopper documentary correcting Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ‘injustice’


By SANDRA DICK


IT was a bitter February night precisely 60 years ago. North East scrap dealer John Cumberland was just a tot, oblivious to events happening thousands of miles away in America where tragedy was unfolding and music history was being made.


A plane crash in Iowa claimed the lives of three rock ‘n’ roll heroes: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the rocker with the distinctive baritone voice, Jiles Perry ‘J.P.’ Richardson, also known as ‘The Big Bopper’.


The date - 3 February 1959 - would eventually become known as the day the music died. For John, who inherited his twin passions for music and the scrap industry from his father, Jimmy, the plane crash would for years just be one of those infamous tragedies that happened a long way away to people he didn’t really know.


Today, he is in the grip of a remarkable 42


SHWM February, 2019


personal challenge that has tied him to the memory of one the victims. This endeavour has cost tens of thousands of pounds to pursue and is now set to propel John onto the small screen in a documentary that follows his dream to see The Big Bopper offi cially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.


It is, agrees John, boss of Wanted Metal Recycling (and, more recently, Wanted Wood in Shildon, County Durham) all a bit crazy. “If someone had said to me 10 years ago that I’d be doing this, I’d never have believed them,” he admitted.


“The movie is about how a scrap metal dealer is trying to do this for The Big Bopper. This guy is a world treasure, and here’s this lunatic character from the North East of England who wants to do this for no reason other than he thinks he is doing the right thing.”


The documentary, titled ‘Bopper and Me’,


is the result of thousands of hours of fi lm captured as John travelled in the rockers’ footsteps during that fi nal, fatal winter tour. It’s set to be premiered at the same dance hall that the music legends last played at and has already caught the eye of the likes of the BBC and Netfl ix.


“It was pure chance he was on that plane, and he was the biggest star out of the three at the time of the crash.”


‘A bit crazy’ it may be but John is deadly serious in his quest. He has launched a petition calling for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to correct what he sees as a massive


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