Born: May 13, 1941, Pacoima, CA, USA.
Died: Feb 3, 1959, Clear Lake, IA, USA.
Ritchie Valens was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter and guitarist. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted only eight months. During this time, however, he scored several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which was originally a Mexican folk song that Valens transformed with a rock rhythm and beat that became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement.
On February 3, 1959, on what has become known as The Day the Music Died, Valens was killed in a small plane crash in Iowa, a tragedy that also claimed the lives of fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson a/k/a the Big Bopper.