La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens

La Bamba


La Bamba is a well-known song that was originally written in 1939 by Mexican songwriter and performer, Quirino Mendoza y Cortes. The song gained even more popularity when it was later recorded by Ritchie Valens in 1958, just a year before his untimely death in a plane crash. This article will explore the history of the song, the impact it had on music and pop culture, as well as the legacy left behind by Ritchie Valens.

The Original Song

The original La Bamba song was considered to be a "son jarocho", which is a style of Mexican folk music that originated in the state of Veracruz. The song was meant to be danced to, and it tells the story of a young man who is determined to marry a woman named Bamba.

The song was popular in Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries, but it wasn't until the late 1950s that it gained global popularity. This was mainly due to Ritchie Valens' version, which brought the song to a wider audience.

Ritchie Valens' Version

Ritchie Valens was a young artist from California who had just started to gain fame when he released his version of La Bamba in 1958. Valens was only 17 years old at the time, but he had already achieved a great deal of success with his earlier hit song, "Donna".

Valens' version of La Bamba was unique in that it blended traditional Mexican music with rock and roll. The song featured a catchy melody, upbeat rhythm, and high energy vocals that made it an instant hit. The song peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and it helped Valens become one of the first Latino musicians to achieve mainstream success in the United States.

The Legacy of Richie Valens

Despite his young age and brief career, Ritchie Valens left a lasting legacy on the music industry. He was one of the first Mexican American artists to achieve mainstream fame, and his influence can still be heard in many different genres of music.

In addition to La Bamba and Donna, Valens released several other hit songs during his short career. These included "Come On Let's Go" and "Oh Donna". Valens' music was characterized by its unique blend of rock and roll, R&B, and traditional Mexican music.

Valens' life was tragically cut short when he died in a plane crash in 1959, along with fellow musicians Buddy Holly and J.P "The Big Bopper" Richardson. The event is commonly referred to as "The Day the Music Died", and it had a profound impact on the music industry.

The Impact on Pop Culture

La Bamba and Ritchie Valens' other songs have had a significant impact on pop culture. The song has been featured in several movies and TV shows over the years, and it is often played at weddings and other celebrations.

The popularity of La Bamba helped pave the way for other Latino musicians and artists to achieve mainstream success. The song has also become a symbol of Mexican culture, and it is often played at cultural events and celebrations.


La Bamba is a timeless song that has had a lasting impact on the music industry and pop culture. It has helped bridge cultural divides and has brought people from different backgrounds together through music. Ritchie Valens' contribution to the song and to the music industry as a whole will never be forgotten.