Richard Steven Valenzuela gave us what would be the next turning point in rock & roll history - the infusion of a rock beat into a traditional Mexican song, on a double A-side with "Donna" on the flip. Ritchie was proud of his Mexican heritage, and wanted to honour that, but having been raised in an English-speaking environment, he had to learn the lyrics from his Aunt Ernestine phonetically.
Of course, tragedy struck for Ritchie, Buddy Holly and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson on February 3, 1959 near Clear Lake, Iowa when the small plane they were travelling in crashed. Ritchie was three months shy of his 18th birthday. However, "La Bamba" has influenced many musicians since, including Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Selena, Led Zeppelin and Carlos Santana.