Total Pageviews

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Ricardo Esteban Valenzuela Reyes was born May 13, 1941 in Pacoima, California. He is credited with being the fist Hispanic rock star. He was enouraged to take up music at an early age by his father.             His early musical influences were traditional Mexican mariachi, flamenco guitar, R&B and jump blues. His musical versatility crossed many genres including pop, rock, R&B, blues and rockabilly.
Although his music career lasted only eight months, his musical legacy and impotrance in the Mexican-American music movement and the Eastside Sound will live on forever. Not only a talented guitarist & vocalist, Ritchie wrote many of his own songs.
Ritchie began as a member of the band, The Silhouettes, led by Gil Rocha out of the Pacoima/San Fernando area. Rocha wanted to get his band a recording contract and went to Bob Keane owner of Del-Fi Records in Hollywood. The "Little Richard Of San Fernando" would be invited to Keane's home where some demos were recorded. In 1958 Keane signed Ritchie & that's when his named was changed to Ritchie Valens. In July of 1958 Ritchie entered Gold Star studio & cut "Come On Let's Go" and "Framed"

You May Listen To Ritchie Valens "Come On Let's Go" Here:

You May Listen To Ritchie Valens "Framed" Here:

His next record was probably the first double 'A Sided" 45 in rock history. My mother married a man from Pacoima who had a copy of Ritchie's new record "La Bamba" and "Donna". He always played "La Bamba" on our home turntable but being the curious lad that I was I flipped it over & much to my excitement, I fell in love with "Donna". I saved up enough allowance to buy my own copy and that single is what led me into record collecting. "La Bamba" was Ritchie's re-working of a traditional folk song. "Donna" was a dreamy ballad Ritchie penned for his girlfriend, Donna Ludwig and it would reach #2 on the national charts.

You May Listen To Ritchie Valens "La Bamba" Here:

You May Listen To Ritchie Valens "Donna" Here:

Ritchie would next release "Fast Freight" and "Big Baby Blues" under the name Arvee Allens which would later be released under the name Ritchie Valens. "Fast Freight" featured a surf style guitar long before surf music would become popular. "Big Baby Blues" also an intrumental featured Ritchie's blues guitar riffs.

You May Listen To Arvee Allens "Fast Freight" Here:

You May Listen To Arvee Allens "Big Baby Blues" Here:

Ritchie would make an appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and appear in the Alan Freed movie "Go Johnny Go"

In early 1959, Valens was traveling the Midwest on a multi-act rock and roll tour dubbed "The Winter Dance Party." Accompanying him were Buddy Holly with a new back-up band, Tommy Allsup on guitar, Waylon Jennings on bass, and Carl Bunch on drums; Dion and the Belmonts; J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson; and Frankie Sardo. None of the other performers had backing bands, so Buddy's backup band filled in for all the shows. Conditions for the performers on the tour buses were abysmal, and the bitterly cold Midwest weather took its toll on the party; Carl Bunch had to be hospitalized with severely frostbitten feet, and several others (including Valens and The Big Bopper) caught colds.
The bus they all were taking on the tour was plagued with a defective heater and Holly decided to charter a small plane for himself and others. Valens, Holly, Richardson, and the pilot were killed when their small plane crashed soon after taking off from Clear Lake, Iowa on February 3, 1959. Don McLean referred to it as "The Day the Music Died".

After Ritchie's death Del-Fi would release the following singles:

That's My Little Suzie (US #55) / In A Turkish Town?Del-Fi 4114 (1959)
Little Girl (US #92) / We Belong Together?Del-Fi 4117 (1959)
Stay Beside Me / Big Baby Blues?Del-Fi 4128 (1959)
The Paddiwack Song / Cry, Cry, Cry?Del-Fi 4133 (1960)

More Ritchie 45's:

Ritchie Valens Albums:

Ritchie Valens (1959) -- Del-Fi DFLP-1201 (US #23)
Ritchie (1959) -- Del-Fi DFLP-1206
Ritchie Valens In Concert at Pacoima Jr. High (1960) -- Del-Fi DFLP-1214

Over the years Ritchie's music has been re-issued in a number of different ways. Of special interest to fans & collectors are the following:

Ritchie Valens: The Lost Tapes Del-Fi DFCD-70009 (1995)

  01. We Belong Together
02. Blues With Drum
03. Ritchie's Blues
04. Come On, Let's Go
05. In A Turkish Town
06. Dooby Dooby Wah
07. Bluebirds Over The Mountain
08. I got a girl named Sue
   became later "That's My Little Suzie"
09. Let's Rock and Roll
10. Donna 1 - unfinished song
11. Donna 2 - without modifications
12. Blues Instrumental
13. Cry Cry Cry 1
14. Cry Cry Cry 2
15. Malaguena - test with piano
16. Blues - Slow
17. Stay Beside Me
18. Rhythm Song
19. Guitar Instrumental
20. Rock Lil Darlin'
21. Cry Cry Cry - false start
22. Cry Cry Cry - complete take
23. Cry Cry Cry - break down
24. Cry Cry Cry - complete take - take 3
25. Dooby Dooby Wah - takes 1,2,4 & 7 - false start
26. Dooby Dooby Wah - take 16
27. In A Turkish Town - take 13 - false start
28. In A Turkish Town - take 14
29. La Bamba - takes 1 & 2 - break down and false start
30. La Bamba - complete band track - take 5
31. La Bamba - band track
32. La Bamba - band track - take 8
33. Bluebirds Over The Mountain - take 1 - false start
34. Bluebirds Over The Mountain - take 3 - complete
35. Bluebirds Over The Mountain - master session
36. Bluebirds Over The Mountain - take 5 - complete
37. That's My Little Suzie - take 1 - false start
38. That's My Little Suzie - take 2
39. Ooh! My Head - fragment of early version
40. Donna - Commercial

The Ritchie Valens Story (1993) -- Rhino/Del-Fi 71414

1. Narration of Ritchie Valens' Story As Told by Bob Keane, Producer And Manager of Ritchie Valens (21:57)
2. Ritchie Valens - Big Baby Blues (single version) (1:58)
3. Ritchie Valens - Bluebirds Over The Mountain (demo) (1:02)
4. Ritchie Valens - Boney-Maronie (LP version) (2:50)
5. Ritchie Valens - Come On, Let's Go (demo) (2:17)
6. Ritchie Valens - Come On, Let's Go (single version) (2:06)
7. Ritchie Valens - Donna (demo) (1:55)
8. Ritchie Valens - Donna (single version) (2:33)
9. Ritchie Valens - In A Turkish Town (demo) (2:13)
10. Ritchie Valens - La Bamba (Gold Star recording session) (2:35)
11. Ritchie Valens - La Bamba (recorded at Gold Star, the B-side of Donna) (2:07)
12. Ritchie Valens - Let's Rock & Roll (demo) (1:30)
13. Ritchie Valens - Malaguena (demo) (3:04)
14. Ritchie Valens - Paddiwack Song (LP version) (2:34)
15. Ritchie Valens - Ritchie doing commercial for Winter Dance Party, followed by radio announcer from Des Moines, Iowa, Feb 4, 1959 the day after the fatal plane crash (1:41)
16. Ritchie Valens - Rock Little Darlin' (demo) (1:17)
17. Ritchie Valens - Stay Beside Me (single version) (2:28)
18. Ritchie Valens - Summertime Blues (live in concert at Pacoima Jr. High) (3:07)
19. Ritchie Valens - That's My Little Suzie (demo) (2:53)

Come On, Let's Go! (1998) -- Del-Fi DFBX-2359

Deluxe 3-CD, 62 track set featuring all tracks from the three original albums plus rare demos and outtakes. 62 page booklet features biography and rare photos. Package also comes with poster, picture cards, and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame campaign cards

A fabulous movie about Ritchie's life was released in 1987 entitled "La Bamba" starring Lou Diamond Phillips.

In 1989 Ritchie would receive his own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. In 1993, the United States Post Office would release a commorative stamp.

If you are really interested in Ritchie Valens & his life I urge you to buy the book "Ritchie Valens - The First Latino Rocker" by Beverly Mendheim.

They call it "The Day The Music Died" but for me Ritchie's death was in part the beginning of my record collecting and for many young Chicanos it would be a launching-pad that would inspire the evolution of the Eastside Sound.

Ritchie will always be remembered as his music and legend are passed on from generation to generation.


Solely for historical, educational & listening pleasure.


  1. So where are the download links?

  2. No download links. This site is solely for educational & historical purposes. Check out Amazon to purchase CDs & E-Bay for old vinyl.