Happy birthday, dead Ritchie Valens, born this day in 1941.
Valens, from the L.A. suburb of Pacoima, was born Richard Steven Valenzuela and some consider him the father of Chicano rock.
Pocho Valens didn’t espeak Espanish, so he sang the lyrics to his biggest hit record from a phonetic cheat sheet.
And then he died.
For your Ritchie-listening pleasure, we are pleased to feature two versions of La Bamba, the original 1958 “keep the tape running” recording sessions, and then the actual hit record.
Everybody scream now: