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Los Lobos' Louie Perez & David Hidalgo Working On A Ritchie Valens Musical
You may know Ritchie Valens' tragic story thanks to Lou Diamond Phillips' portrayal of the late 1950s Chicano rock and roll sensation in the 1987 biopic La Bamba. Now Los Lobos' Louie Perez & David Hidalgo are making sure his legacy stays alive with their currently in-the-works musical called "Come On, Let's Go."
The two musicians will write the music and lyrics and team up with producer Brad Garfield, playwright Richard Montoya and director Tony Taccone to bring Valens' story to life once again with hopes of reaching Broadway. Rolling Stone reports that production will first happen in Southern California in 2020.
The musical will feature original songs from the late teenage singer as well. Valens is known for his hit "La Bamba," "Come On, Let's go" and "Donna."
Valens rose to fame in a span of eight months in the 1950s, but his short musical career ended when at 17 years old he died in a plane crash along with Buddy Holly and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in 1959. Valens inspired rock bands that came after him and became a trailblazer for Chicano rock.
Los Lobos are just one rock band influenced by Valens. They have paid tribute to the singer by covering his songs, including "La Bamba" for the 1980s biopic.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Garfield said the musical would differ from the film.
"In 1987, when La Bamba came out, the audience thought Lou Diamond Phillips (who was fantastic) was Ritchie Valens, and they believed Ritchie’s brother Bob was the protagonist in Ritchie’s life," Garfield said. "Well that wasn’t true. Society’s acceptance was the protagonist in Ritchie’s life."
He described the musical as being about "a Chicano Boy who grew up on the other side of the tracks in California’s San Fernando Valley." Garfield said he has the blessing of Valens' siblings, Connie, Irma and Mario on the project and that he wants "to leave a true picture of Ritchie in the archives of Theatre and the Arts that will cement Ritchie's Legacy, so he’s never forgotten again."
In his career, Valens wrote 21 of the 29 songs he recorded. He received a posthumous GRAMMY nomination for "La Bamba" in 1987.