SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY's POP MUSIC INFLUENCE IS MY PERSONAL MUSIC AND MEMORY TRAIL. PICTURES TELL STORIES BUT I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO YOU TUBE VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS OR IMAGES. THEY HAVE BEEN UPLOADED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES SO INFORM ME IF COPYRIGHTED AND THEY WILL BE DELETED. ANDY LIM (NOVEMBER, 2008).

Monday, April 27, 2009

American Idol Ritchie Valens 1941-1959 Donna


Ritchie Valens (Vocalist/guitarist: 1941 - 1959)
Ritchie Valens left an impact as a rock and roll singer with the classic rocker “La Bamba", an old Mexican wedding song. It was so popular that “La Bamba”, although the B-side of “Donna,” (number 2 on Billboard’s singles chart), peaked at number 22. It was known as a double-sided smash and one of the greatest rock and roll singles of the 50s.
Valens was born Richard Steven Valenzuela in a Los Angeles suburb. He grew up with Mexican music, but loved black R&B vocal groups like the Crows, the Penguins and the Drifters and singers Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly.
Valens learned the guitar and joined the Silhouettes. In May 1958, he auditioned for Bob Keane, cut a few sessions at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles and came out with his debut single, “Come On, Let’s Go,” but missed the Top 40 Charts then.
Valens’ second session produced “Donna” and “La Bamba." The song was a sweet, simple love song for a girl he knew and was “one of the classic teen love ballads.” With “Donna” rising in the charts, Valens made a trip to New York in December 1958 and appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and the Alan Freed Christmas Show.
Though “Donna” made Valens a star, it was “La Bamba” that would become most closely identified with the young Mexican-American rocker. “La Bamba” was a popular huapango (Mexican fiesta dance song). Valens put a rock and roll spin on this folk song, juicing it up with hot chilly pepper and so invented Latino rock.
The budding star was on a fast track and when pop star Buddy Holly chartered a plane to fly from Iowa, to Fargo, North Dakota, it crashed and claimed the lives of Valens, Holly, J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper") and the pilot. Valens, who was only 17 years old, left behind an influential body of work.
He was an influence on Singapore's 60s music and like other evergreens, "To Sir, With Love," "Born Free", "Love Without End", "Donna" is still being played to day in Singapore. Henry Suriya, Singapore crooner in the 60s and brother of Naomi and The Boys, recorded the song for one of his EPs. More about Suriya in future postings.
In 1987 a movie about Ritchie Valens called, "La Bamba" was released and starred Lou Diamond Philips.
(Article was edited and taken from: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Website).

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