LOS ANGELES, CA – August 6, 2018 – A stretch of the 5 Freeway in the Northeast San Fernando Valley will be renamed the Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway in honor of the local rock legend.
A family-friendly festival and movie screening of La Bamba will be held at Ritchie Valens Park in Pacoima (10731 Laurel Canyon Blvd) on August 25th from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm to celebrate the official unveiling of the Ritchie Valens Memorial Highway signs.
“Ritchie Valens exemplifies the talent and greatness that exists in this community — breaking barriers as one of the first Latino musicians to cross over to mainstream rock and roll,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. “His music was the soundtrack for generations of Angelenos and his legacy is a source of pride for our Pacoima community.
“His music inspired and influenced a generation of Chicano artists in our community and throughout the world. It’s only fitting to name this segment of the I-5 after a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer who grew up right here in Pacoima,” Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, said when he announced the legislation’s passage. This event is presented by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and the Ritchie Valens Tribute Committee, the event will feature live entertainment, food trucks, and a screening of the movie, La Bamba at 7:30 pm.
Confirmed performers include DJ Rhythm Donor (Bobby Arias), Backyard Blues Band (featuring Mario Valens, and the Ritchie Valens tribute performers, Ernie Valens Band.
About Ritchie Valens: A legendary artist who still resonates today, Ritchie Valens rose to fame in the late 1950’s as the first Latino rock star and a pioneer of rock ’n’ roll with hits such as “La Bamba,” “Come On, Let’s Go,” and “Donna.”
Valens began recording for Del-Fi Records in 1958. In a career spanning only eight months, he recorded three albums of over 30 songs and released nine singles including five chart-toppers with “Donna” peaking at #2 on the Billboard pop chart in 1958.
Ritchie Valens along with legendary musicians Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper died in a tragic plane crash on February 3, 1959, during their Winter Dance Party tour; a day referred to as the day the music died.
Since his untimely death at the age of 17, his music has gained in popularity and influenced generations of musicians. Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana are both cited as influenced by Valens’ guitar playing. Artists from Led Zeppelin to Los Lobos have recorded his music.
Valens who was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, is remembered with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a major motion picture, La Bamba, a U.S. Postage Stamp, and namesake soft drink.
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