Ritchie Valens was an American singer who died on February 3, 1959, due to plane crash. Within his eight-month music career, he accumulated a net worth of $500 Thousand.
This prominent singer, songwriter, as well as guitarist, is the pioneer of rock and roll music. Besides, Ritchie is the ancestor of the Chicano rock movement.
Talk about Ritchie’s short-lived music career, he released Mexican folk song “La Bamba” which was a super hit song. After his death, three-album was released. These are “Ritchie Valens” (March 1959), “Ritchie” (October 1959), & “In Concert at Pacoima Jr. High” (December 1960).
The day when he died was announced “The Day the Music Died”. In 2001, his prominent achievement arrived introducing into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
Ritchie Valens: At a Glance
|Full Name||Richard Steven Valenzuela|
|Date of Birth||May 13, 1941|
|Birth Place||Pacoima, California, U.S.|
|Died||February 3, 1959|
|Height||5ft 7in (1.70m)|
|Profession||Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist|
Ritchie was the second sibling of Joseph Steven Valenzuela. On May 13, 1941, Valens was born in Pacoima near Los Angles, the U.S. His parents Joseph and Reyes both were Mexican. Thus, at an early age, Ritchie was familiar with traditional Mexican music.
At the age of five, Ritchie desired to make music of his own. His father highly inspired him to take up guitar and trumpet. Besides, Joseph taught Ritchie the drums.
This talented rock musician was invited to a local band when he was only sixteen. He worked with the band as a guitarist. Later on, Ritchie became the main vocalist of the group.
Talk about education, Ritchie went to Pacoima Junior High School & San Fernando High School.
This prominent self-taught rock musician started his career as a guitarist. Later on, he got the chance of the main vocalist.
On May 27, 1958, Ritchie signed with Bob Keane who is the president of an American record label Del-Fi Records. At that time the Little Richard of San Fernando took the short name Ritchie and Valenzuela became Valens.
After a successful session with Keane, Ritchie worked in reputed Gold Star Studios. In that period, Ritchie wrote the song “Donna” & “Ritchie’s Blues” which earned popularity.
In July 1958, Ritchie’s first album “Come On, Let’s Go” was recorded in the Gold Star Studios. Ritchie gained huge popularity releasing the Mexican folk song “La Bamba”. This folk song was sold over one million copies.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded Ritchie the “Gold Disc” for his popular folk song “La Bamba”.
Besides, Ritchie appeared in the rock and roll film “Go, Johnny, Go!”. He released two albums at this time in the Gold Star Studios.
After performing in Clear Lake, Lowa, Ritchie was coming home with Holly, & Richardson. On Feb 3, 1959, approx. 12:55 am this talented rock and roll musician said goodbye due to a tragic plane crash.
Ritchie Valens, Holly, J.P. Richardson, & the pilot Roger Peterson all died in the plane crash. It was blamed on poor weather and possible pilot error. Investigation showed, that night the pilot was sick and there was high wind & poor visibility. Thus, it resulted in a plane crash.
Yes, a freak plane crash occurred in his Junior High School in January 1957. After that tragic accident, he feared to fly. Though he overcame after some safe flights in his music career.
Ritchie Valens wrote the popular song Donna featuring ‘50s progression. On Del-Fi Records, the song was released in 1958.