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Ritchie Valens Biography


Home > Music > V > Valens, Ritchie > Biography


Birth Name: Ricardo Esteban Valenzuela Reyes
Born: 1941/05/13
Birth Place: Pacoima, California, United States
Died: 1959/02/03
Years Active: 1957-1959
Genres: Rock And Roll


Ritchie Valens (Ricardo Esteban Valenzuela Reyes; May 13, 1941 - February 3, 1959) was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist.

A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted only eight months. During this time, however, he scored several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which was originally a Mexican folk song that Valens transformed with a rock rhythm and beat that became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement.

On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as ''The Day the Music Died'', Valens was killed in a small-plane crash in Iowa, a tragedy that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.