Who Was Ritchie Valens?
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His short career ended when he died at age 17 in the plane crash in which Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper also perished. Valens grew up in suburban Los Angeles in a family of Mexican-Indian extraction. Valens left a small legacy of recordings, but his compositions often based on only three or four chords , exciting guitar style, emotional singing , and stylistic versatility influenced generations of rock musicians. His story is told in the film La Bamba Print Cite. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
Class of 2001
In an all too brief career, Ritchie Valens was the first Chicano rock and roll star, having his best remembered hit, "La Bamba," just one month before his untimely death with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper on February 3, Steve was a tree surgeon by trade, but dabbled in mining operations and was a horse trainer. At that time Steve and his wife, Connie were working in a munitions plant in Saugus just to the north of the San Fernando Valley. Robert and Ritchie. Ritchie's mother, Concepcion "Connie" Valenzuela already had another son from a previous marriage named Robert Morales who was four years old at the time of Ritchie's birth. For a few years the Valenzuela family lived a fairly "steady" life at Coronel Street in San Fernando. Connie moved into the house on Filmore with her oldest son Robert, and her two young daughters Connie and Irma. Because the house was small, Ritchie was shuttled off to live with various aunts and uncles in various towns in the upper Los Angeles area. As a child Ritchie faced the many prejudices that were part of Hispanic life throughout southern California. However, the area was home to many family groups; Asians, blacks, and whites, as well as Hispanics.