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Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although Mexican-American rocker Ritchie Valens recorded only a handful of singles, including the hits "La Bamba" and "Donna," he became an iconic figure in the history of popular music by inspiring fellow Latino artists to enter the white-dominated pop and rock fields and pursue the same degree of success he briefly enjoyed before his tragic death in 1959. The trajectory of Valens' entire career lasted less than a year, beginning in the summer of 1958 with the single "Come On, Let's Go" and encompassing the two aforementioned hits, both released later that same year, before he embarked on a fateful Midwestern tour in early 1959 and the flight that claimed his life at the age of 17 along with Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in February of that year. The impact of their deaths on the first wave of rock-n-roll fans, who cited the incident as the end of rock's initial purity - later immortalized in the 1971 Don McLean classic "American Pie" - as well as the raw joy of Valens' music, canonized the singer as a pioneer of the genre, as well as a forebear of Latino rock-n-roll who opened the door for subsequent artists like Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and many others. Valens' short life and...

Although Mexican-American rocker Ritchie Valens recorded only a handful of singles, including the hits "La Bamba" and "Donna," he became an iconic figure in the history of popular music by inspiring fellow Latino artists to enter the white-dominated pop and rock fields and pursue the same degree of success he briefly enjoyed before his tragic death in 1959. The trajectory of Valens' entire career lasted less than a year, beginning in the summer of 1958 with the single "Come On, Let's Go" and encompassing the two aforementioned hits, both released later that same year, before he embarked on a fateful Midwestern tour in early 1959 and the flight that claimed his life at the age of 17 along with Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in February of that year. The impact of their deaths on the first wave of rock-n-roll fans, who cited the incident as the end of rock's initial purity - later immortalized in the 1971 Don McLean classic "American Pie" - as well as the raw joy of Valens' music, canonized the singer as a pioneer of the genre, as well as a forebear of Latino rock-n-roll who opened the door for subsequent artists like Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and many others. Valens' short life and career served as both one of rock's greatest tragedies, as well as a flashpoint for countless musicians from all ethnic backgrounds.

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CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hometown USA (1979)
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