On February 3, 1959 a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. The day was later called The Day the Music Died by Don McLean, in his song “American Pie”.
February 3 marks a big loss for rock n’ roll and American music in general, it’s different for Chicanos as there were few of us out in the mainstream. We’ve all seen La Bamba and know the story of Ritchie Valens’ short-live music career.
To commemorate Ritchie Valens’ passing I suggest one of the following activities:
- Watch La Bamba on DVD
- Throw your laundry in the air and yell “Ritchieeeeeee!” in anguish.
- Play some of Valens’ hits, like Come On Let’s Go (original version, not the Los Lobos covers)
- Call your love and sing We Belong Together for him/her
- Get a tattoo of a flying guitar
Rest in peace, Ritchie!