was born Richard Steven Valenzuela May 13, 1941 in Los Angeles,
California, to his mother, Concepcion "Concha" Valenzuela
and father Steve Joseph Valenzuela. Ritchie developed his
love for music at an early age and by the time he entered
Pacoima Jr. High School at age 13, he was rarely without his
guitar. At age 16, after playing music with his friends and
singing for his younger siblings and neighborhood kids, Ritchie
joined a band called the Silhouettes, and played local sock
hops and parties. Int he summer of 1958, Ritchie met Boib
Keane and recorded his first demo in Bob's basement. At the
onset of the success of the single "Come On Let's Go",
Ritchie took a break from his senior year of high school to
travel around the
country to play his music.
In early 1959, Ritchie, Buddy
Holly and the Big Bopper
traveled the country on a
Winter Dance Party tour.
The three decided to escape
the freezing tour bus for
one night and took a small
aircraft to the next city. All three
perished in a plane crash near Mason City,
Iowa on February 3, 1959. The day the music died.
Ritchie was the first Latino Rock Star, not only was was he a talented singer/musician, he was also a song writer.
Ritchie's heart felt lyrics, the youthful exuberance in his
voice and the infectious beat of his music are all displayed
in a diverse musical style that continues to touch generations
of fans all these years later.