Ritchie Valens was born Rchard Valenzuela, on 13th
He was just 17 years old when he died on that infamous
day of 3rd February 1959 (the day the music died). He
perished on a snowy night near Clear Lake, Iowa, in the
plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Holly, the
Big Bopper and the pilot of their small plane.
Ritchie Valens was no aspiring artist, he had just
attained three straight US hit records.
These records were "Come On, Let's Go", and
the double sided "Donna" / "La Bamba"
. This was no mean feat at a time when top hit records
depended upon massive record sales and it has been achieved
by few other artists.
His hit "Donna" was about a childhood sweetheart,
Donna Ludwig. The record was "covered" as was
the trend at that time by Marty Wilde (father of Kim Wilde)
in the UK. "Come on, Let's Go" was been covered
in the UK by Tommy Steele.
Ironically, it was the B-side of his hit "Donna"
that became probably his best known song and subsequently
the title of a film about his life, La Bamba. The Los
Lobos re-make hit number one in both US and UK.