Richie Valens’ immortal hit joins music by Jay-Z, Cyndi Lauper, the soundtracks of “Hair” and “Schoolhouse Rock” on this year’s list of recordings with “cultural, historical and aesthetic importance.”
Ritchie Valens' “La Bamba” is on this year’s list of new inductees into the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
Valens, a first generation Mexican American and California native who spoke little Spanish, adapted a Mexican son jarocho into an infectious rock-and-roll song when he was just 17 years-old. Released in 1958, the infectious hit marked a milestone for Spanish-language music when it reached Billboard’s top 40 in 1959, just before Valens died in the airplane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. “La Bamba” went to No. 1 in 1987 in the version Los Lobos recorded as the theme for the Valens biopic of the same name.