I Answer Your Music Questions!
Q: If Ritchie Valens hadn't been killed in a plane crash, would he still be the legend he is today?
A: Not if his records stopped where they did. More than likely, he would have kept on recording even if he didn't have any other hits. The last two singles that charted were THAT'S MY LITTLE SUZIE and LITTLE GIRL in the spring and summer of 1959 - they both debuted after that fatal plane crash on February 3rd of that year. You'd think people would've rushed to buy these singles, but surprisingly, they didn't. They peaked at #55 and #92, respectively. Del-Fi Records and Ritchie's former manager, Bob Keane, have kept Valens' musical legacy alive by releasing many of his demos and unreleased recordings. These recordings show that Ritchie was a very gifted guitarist and easygoing guy. Based on these recordings, I'm glad he's revered as a legend, even though it's slightly possible he wouldn't be (as much) if he were alive today. If Buddy Holly were alive, he might be in the same category as Jerry Lee Lewis: a legend to be sure, but not as much of one as Holly is now because of his untimely death. Who knows? As far as the Big Bopper, some may think of him as a legend, but not me. The crash brought him a certain legendary status but he was not a musician or a good songwriter. He was a nice guy, but simply an ordinary disc jockey who tried his hand at making records.
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