Ritchie Valens was born in 1941 and skyrocketed to stardom at an extremely younger age. You probably acknowledge his iconic hit, “La Bamba,” which got here out in 1958, when Ritchie was solely 17. Born within the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles in a neighborhood referred to as Pacoima, he was invited to hitch a band referred to as The Silhouettes. He got here on as a guitarist, however then took on the position of lead vocalist after the primary one left the group. Again then, he was often known as Ritchie Valenzuela.
Bob Keane, the a Del-Fi report label exec, found him and had Ritchie’s change his final title to make it extra “radio pleasant” (aka, whitewash his identification — however that is a unique story). 1958 was the 12 months Ritchie’s profession actually took off. Together with “La Bamba,” “Come On, Let’s Go,” Ritchie additionally wrote the well-known tune “Donna,” which was a tribute to his highschool sweetheart, Donna Ludwig.
What ever occurred between Ritchie Valens and Donna?
Ritchie and Donna dated in highschool, and their romance was portrayed within the 1987 biopic La Bamba. Though Film Donna was extra demure, based on The Washington Submit, who interviewed the true Donna (who now goes by Donna Fox-Coots), real-life Donna had an “unbiased streak” that led her up to now Ritchie. Donna’s father did not approve of the connection, as a result of, keep in mind, this was the ’50s: Donna was white, and Ritchie was Latino.
In accordance with The Submit, Donna “frequently sneaked out of her bed room window to fulfill Valens at San Fernando hangouts just like the Rainbow Curler Rink or Bob’s Huge Boy.” Donna first discovered about “Donna” when Ritchie referred to as her and advised her that he wrote a tune for her. He sang her the primary a part of “Donna” and, Donna advised ABC throughout a particular, “after all I cried. It was simply very, very touching. He did not inform me he was going to report it.”
“I used to be interested in him as a result of he was such a pleasant man, er…I imply, as a result of he was a pleasant boy. He did not swear. He did not get drunk.” When he left highschool to pursue his music profession, they determined to maintain an open relationship, primarily. At any time when he’d be again on the town, they’d get collectively. Donna advised The Submit that he would even allude to them getting married sometime.
Sadly, Ritchie by no means had the prospect to suggest. On February 2, 1959, 17-year-old Ritchie died in a aircraft crash, together with Buddy Holly and J.P. “The Huge Bopper.” Eerily sufficient, it was recognized that Ritchie had an amazing worry of flying after witnesses two planes collide when he was youthful. “Going again to highschool after he died was so laborious. I used to be devastated. I cried on a regular basis and everybody pointed their finger at me. I did not need a huge factor made about it. It was tough,” Donna advised The Submit. She was solely 16 when Ritchie died.
Wanting again on it now, Donna is regularly requested if Ritchie was the “love of her life.” Her response? “I used to be 15 years outdated, for heaven’s sakes. Who is aware of? I favored Ritchie lots, I actually cared, however I can not say I beloved him. I used to be a child. I beloved my mom and sister and brother.” Donna and her father had a falling out after he pushed Donna to report “Misplaced With out You” and “Now That You are Gone” as a approach to probably capitalize off of Ritchie demise, and Donna by no means forgave him for that.
Donna now lives in a small neighborhood close to Sacramento along with her third husband. She has two daughters.