Back to:- Rock N Roll Heaven - Celebrity Graves - San Fernando Mission Cemetery
" Final Resting Place of Ritchie Valens"
May 13th.1941 - Feb. 3rd.1959.
Born Los Angeles.
Ritchie started playing guitar when aged nine. Went on to become a popular entertainer at high school functions and local dances with his own group "The Silouettes". Spotted by Bob Keene and signed for Del-Fi records where his first record "Come on Lets Go" became a minor hit. His Mexican background, which is apparent in his recordings, led to him recording a Mexican song "La Bamba". This proved to be a smash hit and an appearance singing in the 1958 film "Go Johnny Go". His first major tour through the American mid West along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper would ultimately cost him his life. At Clear Lake, Iowa Buddy Holly chartered a small plane to fly to their next engagement, instead of going on the tour bus, the plane carried 3 passengers. These passengers should have been Buddy Holly, Big Bopper and guitarist Tommy Allsup. Ritchie however wanted to fly, so he tossed a coin with Tommy Allsup and won a place on the plane. The plane crashed shortly after take off killing Ritchie, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and the pilot. Ritchie's death at the age of seventeen cut short his career but his music paved the way for Chicano rock n roll artists in the future. Interest in Ritchie Valens again came to the fore after his life story was told in the 1987 film "La Bamba" starring Lou Diamond Phillips. The LA Chicano group "Los Lobos" took Ritchie's hits into the charts once again, some 28 years after his death.
View scenes at crash site
San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Stranwood Avenue. Mission Hills. Los Angeles
Hit Singles:- "Come on Lets Go" 1958 - "Donna" 1958 - "La Bamba" 1958