Who was/is Ritchie Valens ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens, who became the first major star of Chicano rock and roll in Southern California, was born Richard Steven Valenzuela in Pacoima, San Fernando Valley (near Los An- geles), on May 13, 1941. His parents, of Mexican descent, separated when Richard was only three years old. He grew up with his father listening to Mariachi music, flamenco gui- tar, and rhythm and blues. His father encouraged his musical ambitions and Richard started playing guitar at a young age, as well as trumpet and drums. After his father’s sudden death in 1951, Richard returned to his mother’s home in Pacoima. He attended Pacoima Junior High School at age 13, where he entertained his schoolmates with his guitar. It was during this time that he began to develop his distinctive style, impro- vising words and melodies and seldom playing a song the same way twice.

Record producers would later remark that Ritchie played a song different every time. Valenzuela became a huge Little Richard fan when the rock and roll craze began. He joined a local band called The Sil- houettes as their guitarist but soon became their lead singer. His high-energy performances inspired by Richard’s rock and roll hero earned him the nickname ‘The Little Richard of the Valley.’ Those performances came to the attention of Del-Fi label boss Bob Keane, who recognized Richard’s star quality and signed him to a contract in May of 1958. On Keane’s recommendation, Valenzuela shortened his name to a more commercial-sounding Ritchie Valens. Valens’ first Del-Fi sin- gle Come On Let’s Go almost reached ‘Billboard’s‘ Top 40, peaking at #42 in September of 1958. Tommy Steele cov- ered the song for the British market. Only two months later, Valens hit it big with La Bamba b/w Donna, peaking at #22 (La Bamba) and #2 (Donna) on ‘Bill- board’s‘ Top 100. This huge success made Ritchie the first international Chicano star almost overnight.

He quit high school and made numerous television appearances, including Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand,’ and Alan Freed’s Christmas show. More recording sessions for Del-Fi and an appearance in the rock and roll film ‘Go, Johnny, Go’ fol- lowed. The fateful ‘Winter Dance Party’ tour of the Midwest started in early 1959, along with Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Dion and The Belmonts, and Frankie Sardo, among others. Poor climate conditions on the tour bus led Valens, Holly, and The Big Bopper to charter a plane after their gig in Clear Lake, Iowa. The plane crashed into a snowy field shortly af- ter takeoff, killing all on board. Valens was only 17 years old. Although Donna was Valens’ biggest hit, he is most remem- bered for his rockin’ version of the Mexican folk song La Bamba; three decades later it was the title of a movie about his life.

Recorded by Los Lobos for the movie, it reached top positions on the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and brought Ritchie‘s name back into the public consciousness in the 1980s. Valens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not bad for a youngster from the San Fernando Valley whose career lasted only eight months...

Marc Mittelacher in August 2020

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Various Artists
The Right To Rock - The Mexicano And Chicano Rock'n'Roll Rebellion 1955-1963 (CD)

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Donna - La Bamba (7inch, 45rpm, BC)
Ritchie Valens: Donna - La Bamba (7inch, 45rpm, BC) Art-Nr.: 45COL3197

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(Collectables) 2 tracks
$11.49
La Bamba´87 And Other Great Rock  N´Roll Classics (CD)
Ritchie Valens: La Bamba´87 And Other Great Rock N´Roll... Art-Nr.: CD887526

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(Original Sound) 12 tracks
$57.67
La Bamba - The Ritchie Valens Story (CD)
Ritchie Valens: La Bamba - The Ritchie Valens Story (CD) Art-Nr.: CD265981

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(Teldec Schallplatten) 16 tracks
$23.03
Ritchie Valens Rocks (CD)
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens Rocks (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD17525

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1-CD Digipak (6-plated) with 40-page booklet, 36 tracks. Playing time approx. 73 mns. • February 3 commemorates the anniversary of the death of Ritchie Valens. • In retrospect, the young rocker had only eight months to record his entire...
$16.11 $19.57
Rock 'N' Roll Legends Collection (CD)
Ritchie Valens: Rock 'N' Roll Legends Collection (CD) Art-Nr.: CDRNRSTAR032

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(One & Only) 25 tracks
$11.49
Essential Recordings (2-CD)
Ritchie Valens: Essential Recordings (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDPRM6224

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(Primo) 33 tracks. Here all known recordings of Ritchie Valens, who tragically died in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper, are presented. His classic'La Bamba' made Latino Rock suitable for the masses in 1958. Valens was...
$11.49
La Bamba '87 (12inch, 33rpm, Maxi)
Ritchie Valens: La Bamba '87 (12inch, 33rpm, Maxi) Art-Nr.: LPDF1287

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(Del-Fi) 4 tracks - The original version of 'La Bamba' was recorded by De-Fi Records in 1959, and has since become a rock classic. Now Del-Fi Records has enlisted the expertise of Bob Keane, the producer of the original hit, to produce a...
$11.49
In Concert At Pacoima Jr. High (LP)
Ritchie Valens: In Concert At Pacoima Jr. High (LP) Art-Nr.: LPRN70233-C

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(Rhino) 10 tracks - Reproduction of the original 1960 'DelFi' album! Cut-out LP! Ritchie Valens in concert at Pacoima Jr. High We at Del-Fi have released the following recorded Assembly because somehow the word got out that it had been...
$11.49 $18.41
Ritchie (LP)
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie (LP) Art-Nr.: LPRN70232-C

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(Del Fi) 11 tracks - Reproduction of the original 1959 'Del-Fi' LP album - Originally sealed - Cut-Out LP
$11.49 $18.41
Ritchie Valens (CD)
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens (CD) Art-Nr.: CDWOU1201

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(2006/Wounded Bird) 12 tracks
$23.03
Rockin' All Night - The Very Best Of Ritchie Valens (CD)
Ritchie Valens: Rockin' All Night - The Very Best Of Ritchie... Art-Nr.: CDDEL9001

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(1995/Del-Fi) 22 tracks (from the original master tapes including rare stereo versions) with 8 page booklet of rare photos and notes by Art Fein.
$23.03
Ritchie Valens (1959) 180g
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens (1959) 180g Art-Nr.: LP771899

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(2013/Waxtime) 16 tracks, Limited Edition, DMM Mastering Includes Free MP3 Album Download
$22.80
Ritchie Valens - Ritchie (2-LP)
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens - Ritchie (2-LP) Art-Nr.: LPSE231/2

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(1987/Rhino) 23 tracks, rare Canadian release of 'Richie Valens' and 'Richie' - few copies! Rhino-pressings with Del-Fi labels. Reissue of both original 1959 Ritchie Valens LPs. Vinyl say Made In USA - Cover says Manufactured In Canada.
$28.80
Strictly Instrumental! 7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS, small center
Ritchie Valens: Strictly Instrumental! 7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS,... Art-Nr.: 45ET15029

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(2013/El Toro) 6 track EP with great picture sleeve and notes by espagnol Guitar Wiz Mario Cobo. superb release!
$10.33
For Always (CD)
Ritchie Valens: For Always (CD) Art-Nr.: CDRMB75157

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(2010/Remember) 23 tracks
$11.49 $17.26
Ritchie Valens + Ritchie
Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens + Ritchie Art-Nr.: CD263425

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(2012/Hoodoo) 31 tracks digital remastered
$18.41
The Complete Ritchie Valens (CD)
Ritchie Valens: The Complete Ritchie Valens (CD) Art-Nr.: CDJAS581

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CD on JASMINE RECORDS by Ritchie Valens - The Complete Ritchie Valens
$17.26
La Bamba
Ritchie Valens: La Bamba Art-Nr.: CDSROLL835

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$11.49
La Bamba (1958)...plus - papersleeve
Ritchie Valens: La Bamba (1958)...plus - papersleeve Art-Nr.: CD3930884

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CD on MAGIC RECORDS by Ritchie Valens - La Bamba (1958)...plus - papersleeve
$14.95
The Ritchie Valens Story (CD)
Ritchie Valens: The Ritchie Valens Story (CD) Art-Nr.: CDR276496

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(1993/WARNER/RHINO) 19 tracks (61:29) includes key hits plus rarely heard demos & b-sides - Narration from his manager Bob Keane - 12 page photo booklet - re-issue by popular demand. Neuauflage dieser gesuchten Veröffentlichung - Ein...
$16.05
The Very Best Of Ritchie Valens
Ritchie Valens: The Very Best Of Ritchie Valens Art-Nr.: CDRR4820

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(Repertoire) 28 tracks Del-fi Records
$11.49
The Ritchie Valens Story (CD)
Ritchie Valens: The Ritchie Valens Story (CD) Art-Nr.: CDRN71414

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​(1993/Del-Fi/Rhino) 19 tracks
$16.11
The Best Of Ritchie Valens - Cut-out
Ritchie Valens: The Best Of Ritchie Valens - Cut-out Art-Nr.: LPRNDF200

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(1981/Rhino) 14 tracks, recorded for the DelFi label in 1958 and 1959!
$14.95
The Lost Tapes
Ritchie Valens: The Lost Tapes Art-Nr.: CDCHD317

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(1992/ACE) 40 tracks from De-Fi masters with 8 page booklet - last copies !
$18.41