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Ritchie Valens: 1941-1959: Performer Biography

Early Interest In Music, Valens's Big Break, Fatal Crash Became A Legend

Ritchie Valens: 1941-1959: Performer.

Although his career included just a handful of recording and concert dates, Ritchie Valens attained a place in music history as the first Latino rock-and-roll star. With a string of hit singles behind him at the age of seventeen, the musician's future was tragically cut short, however, when he died in a plane crash along with a group that included Buddy Holly and J. P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper"). February 3, 1959 became immortalized as "the day the music died" in rock history, yet Valens's legend grew after his death with the 1987 biographical film La Bamba, which took its name from Valens's most memorable hit song. The film's soundtrack, recorded by Los Lobos, sent the song to the top of the pop charts and familiarized a new generation of music fans with the work of the teenage rock star.

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