->''"Para bailar La Bamba,\\
Para bailar La Bamba,\\
Se necesita una poca de gracia,\\
Una poca de gracia,\\
Para mi, para ti, ay arriba, ay arriba,\\
Ay, arriba arriba,\\
Por ti sere, por ti sere, por ti sere."''[[note]]To dance the Bamba, to dance the Bamba, one needs a bit of grace, a bit of grace for me, for you, now come on, come on, now come on, come on, for you I'll be, for you I'll be, for you I'll be.[[/note]]
-->-- "La Bamba"

Richard Valenzuela, best known as Ritchie Valens (May 13, 1941 February 3, 1959) was an American RockAndRoll musician, best remembered as one of the three rock 'n' roll pioneers who, together with Music/BuddyHolly and Music/TheBigBopper, died in a tragic plane crash that has gone in history as "The Day The Music Died", in reference to Music/DonMcLean's ''Music/AmericanPie''. Of all three musicians Valens was the youngest, being only 17 years of age.

Valens is best known as a OneHitWonder thanks to his SignatureSong "La Bamba". However, he is also known for the lesser famous hit "Donna". He was the first rockstar of Hispanic origin, paving the way for artists such as Music/CarlosSantana, Music/ChanRomero and Music/LosLobos.

Despite his premature death and not particularly large music catalogue Valens did manage to receive a {{Biopic}} based on his life: ''Film/LaBamba'' (1987) and was inducted in the RockAndRollHallOfFame in 2001.

!! Ritchie Valens' work provides examples of...
* AlliterativeTitle: "'''B'''ig '''B'''aby '''B'''lues", "'''F'''ast '''F'''reight".
* AnswerSong: After Valens' death his song "Donna" received an answer song. "A Letter To Donna" by The Kittens uses the melody of "Donna" but with new lyrics that sent a message to Valens' girlfriend Donna Ludwig.
* BadassBoast: "La Bamba" has a line which says: "Yo no soy marinero, soy capitán", meaning "I'm not a sailor, I am a captain".
* CoverVersion: "La Bamba" was a traditional Mexican song.
* DeathByIrony: Valens was scared of flying ever since a plane crash on his high school playground. He wasn't at school at the time, but the fear kept with him. Eventually he did start flying again, which would tragically result in the plane crash that took his life.
* DoowopProgression: "Donna".
* TheFilmOfTheSong: ''Film/LaBamba'' was named after "La Bamba".
* GratuitousSpanish: Ironically, while him being from Mexican descent would make it seem that Spanish came natural to him, he was actually raised as an English speaker, so Valens practically couldn't speak much Spanish at all. He had to learn and sing the lyrics of "La Bamba" phonetically. But at the time all rock 'n' roll songs were sang in English. To release a song like "La Bamba" and sing it entirely in Spanish was quite daring at the time.
* OneWomanSong: "Donna", "That's My Little Suzie".
* PopCulturalOsmosis: Valens is always named in one breath along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper, due to them all dying in the same plane accident.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: "Donna" was written about Valens' girlfriend Donna Ludwig.
* RockAndRoll: He is considered to be one of the 1950s rock pioneers.
* SomethingBlues: "Big Baby Blues".
* TheSomethingSong: "The Paddiwack Song".
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: His artist name "Ritchie" was spelled that way to distinguish him from all the other musicians who were named "Richie".
* YoungerThanTheyLook: He was ''not yet 18'' when he died. The trope image isn't even one of his last photos!