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Ritchie Valens

"Richard Steven Valenzuela" (May 13 1941 – February 3 1959), better known as "Ritchie Valens", was a pioneer of rock and roll and, as a Mexican-American born in Pacoima, California, became the first Mexican American rock and roll star.

The professional career of Ritchie Valens lasted a period of eight months, during which time he recorded some very influential songs of the 1950s rock and roll era.

Richard Steven Valenzuela was born in Pacoima, a suburb of Los Angeles, on May 13, 1941. Brought up hearing traditional Mexican mariachi music, as well as flamenco guitar, R&B and jump blues, by the age of 5 he expressed an interest in making music of his own. He was encouraged by his father to take up guitar and trumpet, and it is also known that he later taught himself the drums. One day, a neighbour came across Ritchie trying to play a guitar that had only two strings. He re-strung the instrument, and taught Ritchie the fingerings of some chords. While Ritchie was left-handed, he was so eager to learn the guitar that he mastered the traditionally right-handed version of the instrument. By the time he was attending Pacoima...

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