Ritchie was just getting started when he died in the plane crash with Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson. What's more he was just a kid at 17. From everything I've read he was a good kid and not involved in the things that would give him reason for early death. He was just a guy trying to get from one job to the next. He trusted in the judgement of the pilot and his older more experienced colleagues but it ended in tragedy.
Ritchie's real name wasn't Valens. It was Valenzuela like the baseball pitcher. He was a kid from Los Angeles who was just trying to breakout and make enough money to afford a better home for his mother and family. He was well on his way. I don't think he was a flash in the pan. It looked to me as if he had enough going for him both in talent and ambition that he would be able to stick around a while.
I owned one of Ritchie's albums. I think I bought it after he died but can't remember for sure. I was crazy about his music and and played that record over and over. I wondered about the lyrics since some of the songs were supposed to be about his personal life. I wondered because I had no way of knowing about life in East L.A. I was curious.
Ritchie's songs made you want to laugh, dance and some made you want to cry. Ritchie was a story teller who knew how to reach his audience. He also knew how to get you out on the dance floor.
He made the Hall of Fame in Cleveland (? of all places). He was good. I wish he had had the opportunity to show the things hidden away in that lost future.
Mo Info Web site Videos Rockabilly HoF RnR HoF
In addition to the honors linked above he is immortalized by the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well.
Ritchie Valens is now in this Fan's Hall of Fame. Go to his video links and enjoy the music. Listen to La Bamba and see how this kid was capable of bringing the Hispanic culture into mainstream rock and roll. He did a hell of a job and was gone far too soon.