February 3, 1959: The Day the Music Died
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!
5 thoughts on “This day in Chicano history: The Day the Music Died”
I am so going to do #2.
Hah! Nobody can bring that movie up in front of me without me throwing my arms up in despair and yelling Ritchie! Riiiiiiiiiitchie!
Just think, if La Bamba were made today it would be so much worse. Considering the climate in Hollywood, it would probably be directed by Gregory Nava and starring Antonio Banderas. *Shuttter*
Would be interesting to see how the story would be interepreted to film. Would Benicio del Toro make a good Richie Valenzuela? There was a scholarl book published after the film arguing that it wasn’t very accurate. Opting for #3, although the non-hit “Framed” is one of my favorites.
Lou Diamond and Philips was an odd choice for La Bamba but did a decent job. Sad thing is I watch that movie at least once a week. Esai Morales is one of my favorite actors.
I have a friend named Ritchie, and I wonder if he’s annoyed by how many times I’ve yelled out, “Not my Ritchiiiieeeeeee!” like Ritchie’s mama. Love, love, LOVED that movie. One of my all-time faves. For a young brown girl who had never seen herself and her peeps up on the big screen, this movie was huge so I hold it dear to my heart. I loved Esai Morales in this film, still love him to this day. Can you believe that, making Ritchie change his name. Escandalo! lol