Richard Steven Valenzuela, known professionally as Ritchie Valens, was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens was killed in a plane crash eight months into his recording career. Valens had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which he had adapted from a Mexican folk song. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. He also had an American number-two hit with "Donna". On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as "The Day the Music Died", Valens died in a plane crash in Iowa, an accident that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as pilot Roger Peterson. In 2001, Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
|Birth name||Richard Steven Valenzuela|
|Also known as||Ritchie Valens|
|Born||May 13, 1941, Pacoima, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Died||February 3, 1959, Clear Lake, Iowa, U.S.|
|Genres||Rock and roll, Chicano rock|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, guitarist|
|Instruments||Guitar, vocals, drums, trumpet|
|Associated acts||Waylon Jennings Buddy Holly|
|Website||Ritchie Valens's Official site|
|IMDb||Ritchie Valens's IMDb|
Pioneer in the Chicano rock movement who released the single "La Bamba." He tragically died in a historic plane crash, an event that was nicknamed The Day the Music Died.
He learned to play the guitar right-handed even though he was naturally left-handed.
His mother was actress Connie Valenzuela.
He influenced artists like Carlos Santana.
- Ritchie Valens Category
- La Bamba (film) - La Bamba is a 1987 American biographical film written and directed by Luis Valdez that follows the life and career of Chicano rock 'n' roll star Ritchie Valens. The film stars Lou Diamond Phillips as Valens, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña, Danielle von Zerneck, and Joe Pantoliano.
- San Fernando High School alumni
- Rock and roll musicians
- Chicano rock musicians
- Burials at San Fernando Mission Cemetery
- Rock en Español musicians
- Hispanic and Latino American musicians
- Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in the United States
- American child singers
- American rock musicians
Latest information about Ritchie Valens updated on June 23 2021.