Remembering Ritchie Valens
The anniversary of a key moment in the history of rock ‘n’ roll took place over the weekend, and although we weren’t in a position to commemorate it at the time, we wanted to make sure that you knew that we hadn’t forgotten it. Really, though, how can anyone forget “The Day the Music Died”?
On February 3, 1959, not long after the traveling tour known as the “Winter Dance Party” wrapped up its performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, a plane took off from the Mason City Municipal Airport in Mason City, Iowa. Its passengers: Buddy Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, and Ritchie Valens, along with their pilot, Roger Peterson.
Although we mourn all of these artists as well as the man who tried but failed to land their plane successfully, we hold a special place in our heart for Valens, not just because he’s part of our catalog, but because he was a pioneer of Chicano rock and Latin rock, inspiring not only Los Lobos, who performed the soundtrack to his bio-pic, La Bamba, but also Carlos Santana, Los Lonely Boys, and many others.
To commemorate his career and legacy, we’ve compiled a playlist which provides you with about as solid a look back at Valens’ career as you could hope to find. Give it a listen, and remember just how much influence he had on rock ‘n’ roll.
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