Top 10 Facts
He was born as Ritchie Valenzuela in Pacoima, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, on May 13, 1941.His parents were Joseph Steven Valenzuela and Concepcion Reyes. Brought up listening to traditional Mexican mariachi music, flamenco guitar, R&B and jump blues, he expressed an interest in making music of his own by the age of 5. He was encouraged by his father to take up guitar at the age of 9 and trumpet, and he later taught himself the drums. One day, a neighbor 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. When he was 10, his father was killed in an accident.Valens attended Pacoima Junior High School (now Pacoima Middle School). By the time Valenzuela was attending junior high school, he brought the guitar to school and would sing and play songs to his friends on the bleachers.
9. The Silhouettes
When he was 16 years old, Valenzuela was invited to join a local band named 'The Silhouettes' as a guitarist. Later, the main vocalist left the group and Valenzuela assumed this position as well. In addition to the performances with The Silhouettes, he would play solo at parties and other social events.
6. The Day the Music Died
4."Come On, Let's Go" - "Donna"
2. Hollywood Walk of Fame
1. With Two Hands To Play And One Mouth To Sing
Because Ritchie Valens WAS the real deal. He was only starting, but in the time he spent in the business, he made big impact. I don't know if anybody could have made a bigger one. -Waylon Jennings
"Ritchie Valens." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 June 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.
Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.