Ritchie Valens


Kathy Tran, Associate Editor

Richard Stephen Valenzuela, also popularly known as Richie Valens, is an American songwriter and singer. Valens is also known to be the first Latino rock and roll star. He was born on May 13th, 1941. Richie Valens grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and during high school, he started playing the electric guitar that gained Bob Keane´s attention. Keane is the owner of Del-Fi records that gave Richie Valens popularity. Sadly, Richie Valens died at a very young age of 17 in a 1959 plane crash.

Richie Valens had a huge impact and influence on our world. Richie was the center of Chicano rock and Latino rock. He inspired a vast majority of musicians of Mexican heritage. Some people and groups Valens inspired were Carlos Santana, Los Lobos, and Los Lonely Boys. Los Lobos was the 1987 version of Richie Valen´s most recognizable hit that was listed as number one worldwide. Richie Valens became world wide successful due to the fact that he rose up during a time where only a few Latinos were into rock music. Richie Valens was the first to further expand Latino rock music. Many young hispanic people look up to Richie Valens and his music to create their own. Without Richie Valens, latino music would not be as popular today.

Richie Valens won the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Richie Valens is known for many of his popular songs. Valens was most known for his best hit, ¨La Bamba.¨ Valen´s very first hit recorded at the Gold Star Recording Studio was known as, ¨Come On, Let’s Go¨ in 1958 and then ¨Donna,¨ which was a ballad for his ex-girlfriend. One of Richie Valen´s most memorable recording is, ¨Ooh! My Head,¨ in the film ¨Go, Johnny, Go,¨ in 1959. Richie Valen´s songs are still listened to today by many.