Ritchie Valens - Songwriters, Facts and Facts

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Ritchie Valens's Personal Details

Richard Steven Valenzuela, also known as as Ritchie Valens, was a singer, songwriter and guitarist

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 13, 1941
Died onFebruary 3, 1959
NationalityAmerican
FamousSongwriters, Died Young, Guitarists, Lyricists & Songwriters, Singers, Rock Singers
Known asRichie Valens, Valens, Ritchie, Richard Steven Valenzuela
Universities
  • San Fernando High School
Cause of deathPlane Crash
Birth PlacePacoima
ReligionCatholicism
GenderMale
FatherJoseph Steven Valenzuela
MotherConcepcion Valenzuela
Sun SignTaurus
Born inPacoima
Famous asSinger, Songwriter
Died at Age17

// Famous Songwriters

Ritchie Valens's photo

Who is Ritchie Valens?

Richard Steven Valenzuela, who later came to be known by his stage name Ritchie Valens, was an American rock and roll prodigy who went on to establish a new genre of music by introducing Mexican tunes into mainstream music. Valens was a prodigiously talented musician who had learnt to play the guitar when he was still a child and in fact showed great interest in creating music when he was only five years old. Valens started off as a musician like most people of his age by joining a band when he was still in school and his rare talent became visible to music producers who were always on the hunt for new talent. Ritchie Valens went on to record his first album when he was only sixteen years old and some of his most famous songs are ‘La Bamba’ and ‘Donna’. Valens might have started off as a guitarist but before long he was able to write and compose his own songs and even as a teenager he was invited to music festivals along with other established musicians. Valens died at a very young age due to an accident and the day of his death has forever been known as ‘The Day the Music Died’.

// Famous Lyricists & Songwriters

Childhood & Early Life

Richard Steven Valenzuela, who later came to be known as Ritchie Valens, was born on 13 May, 1941 in San Francisco Valley in Los Angeles, California to Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. His parents were of Mexican origin and Valens grew up listening to traditional Mexican music.

Valens went to Pacoima Junior High School and music was a passion from an early age. Ritchie Valens’ father Joseph supported him wholeheartedly and he learned to play the guitar along with the trumpet.

Richard Valens quickly mastered the guitar even though he was a left hander and by the time he was 16 he became a member of a band named ‘The Silhouettes’ as a guitarist. Later on he became the vocalist as well.

Career

In 1958, Bob Keane, the owner of a recording company named Del-Fi Records, took interest in Ritchie Valens and signed him up right after his first audition. It was Bob Keane who asked him to change his name to Ritchie Valens.

Ritchie Valens’ very first recordings were done in Gold Star Studios situated in Hollywood and the songs featured in the album titled ‘Ritchie Valens - The Lost Tapes’ published by Del-Fi Records. Two well-known tracks from that album are ‘Ritchie’s Blues’ and ‘Donna’. The song ‘La Bamba’ became a huge hit later on.

Ritchie Valens left school in the year 1958 to concentrate on his music career and Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records became his promoter who was responsible for setting up his shows and programmes. Throughout the year he performed on television and stage. He appeared on the show ‘American Bandstand’ and did shows in Hawaii, New York and Philadelphia.

Ritchie Valens had become one of the most well-known stars in the industry by the time he was only 17 and was asked by Alan Freed to appear in his film ‘Go Johnny Go’ in a minor role.

In early 1959 Ritchie Valens was invited to be a part of the Winter Dance Party Tour across the Midwestern part of America. It was meant to be a travelling musical act featuring several artists. The artists braved terrible conditions and many of them were taken ill but Ritchie Valens performed to the best of his abilities. He also played the drum during this tour.

Major Works

Ritchie Valens had a very short career as a musician but had great talent and he produced plenty of work that is enjoyed by music lovers to the present day. His most famous and important work was the song ‘La Bamba’, which was released in 1958 and although it was a remake of a Mexican song, it was Valens’ improvisation that made the song the hit that it went on to become.

Awards & Achievements

Ritchie Valens did not win any major awards during his lifetime but his talent and impact on the music industry was beyond question as he was the first musician who brought Mexican music to the fore. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Personal Life & Legacy

Ritchie Valens did not get married but he did have one relationship while he was still in school with a girl named Donna Ludwig. She was the subject of the hit song ‘Donna’.

Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash with two fellow musicians on 3 February, 1959 while travelling in a chartered flight from Clear Lake, Iowa. That day came to be known as ‘The day the Music Died’.

// Famous Guitarists

Ritchie Valens biography timelines

  • // 13th May 1941
    Richard Steven Valenzuela, who later came to be known as Ritchie Valens, was born on 13 May, 1941 in San Francisco Valley in Los Angeles, California to Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. His parents were of Mexican origin and Valens grew up listening to traditional Mexican music.
  • // 1958
    In 1958, Bob Keane, the owner of a recording company named Del-Fi Records, took interest in Ritchie Valens and signed him up right after his first audition. It was Bob Keane who asked him to change his name to Ritchie Valens.
  • // 1958
    Ritchie Valens left school in the year 1958 to concentrate on his music career and Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records became his promoter who was responsible for setting up his shows and programmes. Throughout the year he performed on television and stage. He appeared on the show ‘American Bandstand’ and did shows in Hawaii, New York and Philadelphia.
  • // 1958
    Ritchie Valens had a very short career as a musician but had great talent and he produced plenty of work that is enjoyed by music lovers to the present day. His most famous and important work was the song ‘La Bamba’, which was released in 1958 and although it was a remake of a Mexican song, it was Valens’ improvisation that made the song the hit that it went on to become.
  • // 1959
    In early 1959 Ritchie Valens was invited to be a part of the Winter Dance Party Tour across the Midwestern part of America. It was meant to be a travelling musical act featuring several artists. The artists braved terrible conditions and many of them were taken ill but Ritchie Valens performed to the best of his abilities. He also played the drum during this tour.
  • // 3rd Feb 1959
    Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash with two fellow musicians on 3 February, 1959 while travelling in a chartered flight from Clear Lake, Iowa. That day came to be known as ‘The day the Music Died’.
  • // 2001
    Ritchie Valens did not win any major awards during his lifetime but his talent and impact on the music industry was beyond question as he was the first musician who brought Mexican music to the fore. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

// Famous Rock Singers

Ritchie Valens's FAQ

  • What is Ritchie Valens birthday?

    Ritchie Valens was born at 1941-05-13

  • When was Ritchie Valens died?

    Ritchie Valens was died at 1959-02-03

  • Where was Ritchie Valens died?

    Ritchie Valens was died in Clear Lake

  • Which age was Ritchie Valens died?

    Ritchie Valens was died at age 17

  • Where is Ritchie Valens's birth place?

    Ritchie Valens was born in Pacoima

  • What is Ritchie Valens nationalities?

    Ritchie Valens's nationalities is American

  • What was Ritchie Valens universities?

    Ritchie Valens studied at San Fernando High School

  • What is Ritchie Valens's cause of dead?

    Ritchie Valens dead because of Plane Crash

  • What is Ritchie Valens's religion?

    Ritchie Valens's religion is Catholicism

  • Who is Ritchie Valens's father?

    Ritchie Valens's father is Joseph Steven Valenzuela

  • Who is Ritchie Valens's mother?

    Ritchie Valens's mother is Concepcion Valenzuela

  • What is Ritchie Valens's sun sign?

    Ritchie Valens is Taurus

  • How famous is Ritchie Valens?

    Ritchie Valens is famouse as Singer, Songwriter