Ritchie Valensis getting a special stamp of approval…
President Donald Trump has signed a resolution renaming a Los Angeles area post office after the late rock ‘n’ roll legend, whose real name is Richard Steven Valenzuela.
The Los Angeles Daily Newsreported that Pacoima Post Office will be named the Ritchie Valens Post Office Building.
Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenasintroduced the resolution to rename the facility, along with another to rename the Van Nuys Post Officeafter Marilyn Monroe.
Valens attended San Fernando High Schooland was discovered in 1958 at the American Legionhall in Pacoima. His hits included “La Bamba,” an adaptation of a Mexican folk song. A film about his life with the same title was released in 1987.
A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens’ recording career lasted eight months and abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash at the age of 17 alongside Buddy Holly and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardsonin 1959.
Ritchie Valenshas earned a special place in U.S. recording history…
The late Mexican American singer/songwriter’s groundbreaking 1958 sensation “La Bamba”is one of the newest recordings inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” and are at least 10 years old.
Valens, who was born Richard Valenzuelain Los Angeles in 1941, spoke English as his first language. Though he never mastered Spanish, he learned Spanish songs from his Mexican-American family, including “La Bamba,” a song from the Mexican state of Veracruz that was a favorite dance piece at weddings.
Valens’ amplified guitar and power chords were a long way from the acoustic string band sounds of Mexico, but he successfully transposed the feeling and rhythm of the song to the back beat of early rock and roll. It was released as the b-side of his second single “Donna” in late 1958, and had become a hit on its own when he died at the age of 17 on February 3, 1959, in a plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Hollyand J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper.” In spite of his brief life and a recording career that only lasted eight months, Valens’ success brought a new sound to the mainstream and inspired generations of Chicano musicians.
Los Lobos released its version of the song in 1987. “As a young boy growing up in East Los Angeles, I was curious and ultimately impressed by a rock song sung in Spanish — that song was ‘La Bamba’ by Ritchie Valens,” said Louie Pérez, one of the founding members and guitarist for Los Lobos. “It continues to be a hallmark in American music and an influence on all Latino music that followed.”
Spanish cellist, composer, and conductor Pablo Casals’ 1939 reimagining of the Bach cello suites was selected in the classical category. Raphaël Merlin, cellist of the acclaimed Ébène Quartet External, said: “There is a prophetic aspect to Pablo Casals’s work—he revealed his recording of the six Bach Cello Suites, and they instantly became our bible, and continue to offer revelations to cellists even to this day. At the same time, he also made a practical case for these works as an ideal way for a musician to exercise his or her mind, cultivate healthy playing technique, study counterpoint, and more. However you look at them, his recording of the suites still sounds like the opening of a new era.”
The new recordings to the National Recording Registry bring the total number of titles on the registry to 525, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.
Here’s a look at the 25 recordings that were selected for inclusion in the registry in 2018:
2018 National Recording Registry
Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)
“Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)
Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)
“Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)
“Bach Six Cello Suites” (album), Pablo Casals (c. 1939)
“They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)
“Gunsmoke” — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)
Ruth Draper: Complete recorded monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)
“La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)
“Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)
“Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years” (album), Stan Freberg (1961)
“GO” (album), Dexter Gordon (1962)
“War Requiem” (album), Benjamin Britten (1963)
“Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)
“Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)
“Hair” (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)
Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)
“Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)
“Superfly” (album), Curtis Mayfield (1972)
“Ola Belle Reed” (album), Ola Belle Reed (1973)
“September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)
The late Mexican American “La Bamba” singer’s popularity may increase in the coming months with products like La Bamba Cola, on-line video games and limited-edition guitars.
Valens — who died with Buddy Holly in a 1959 plane crash — will be promoted through an official licensing and merchandising deal with Southern California-based C3 Entertainment.
It marks the first time that the image of the teenage Latino rock pioneer will be promoted through an official licensing initiative sanctioned by Valens’ family.
“More than a retro endeavor, the multicultural aspect of Valens’ licensing program is pivotal,” Ani Khachoian, C3 Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution, told Billboardvia email. “We want to make sure every fan has the opportunity to rediscover this rock ’n’ roll icon, and that we introduce Valens to new audiences. He was a talented, positive young man, who worked hard. It’s a wonderful legacy for young people.”
C3 also represents the legacy of The Big Bopper, who died in the snowy crash with Valens and Holly while on their Winter Dance Party tour.
Valens, best known for his hit “La Bamba,” signed to Del-Fi Records in 1958 and recorded two albums, releasing singles that included “Donna,” which reached no. 2 on the Billboard pop chart.
The 1978 movie La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips with music performed by Los Lobos, brought Valens’ story to new audiences; the soundtrack album sold 2 million copies in the United States.
C3’s Khachoian says that a La Bamba Cola beverage is set to be manufactured and distributed by the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shops chain. Online games, clothing and collectibles are also in the works.
“We’re passionate about securing limited-edition guitars – Valens played several different models of guitars,” Khachoian adds. “We are also positioning him for advertising and live events.”