Home / Lessons / Ritchie Valens / La Bamba
Ritchie Valens
Beginner | Rock | United States / Mexico
"La Bamba" is a Mexican folk song, originally from the state of Veracruz, also known as "La Bomba". The song is best known from a 1958 adaptation by Ritchie Valens, a Top 40 hit in the U.S. charts. Valens's version is ranked number 345 on Rolling Stone magazine′s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is popular for its lively rhythm and is often associated with dancing. The lyrics speak about the importance of having a little bit of grace and energy to dance the bamba. "La Bamba" is a joyful celebration of music and dance that encourages listeners to let go and have fun.
Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Ritchie Valens, was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens was killed in a plane crash at the age of 17, eight months into his music career. Valens had several hits, most notably "La Bamba", which he had adapted from a Mexican folk song. Valens transformed the song into one with a rock rhythm and beat, and it became a hit in 1958, making Valens a pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. He also had an American number-two hit with "Donna".