Ritchie Valens was only 17 when he died in the January 1959 plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, after a concert in Mason City, Iowa. This DVD (which includes Spanish subtitles) offers a 90-minute d... more »ocumentary about his life, featuring interviews with his brother and other family members, as well as with the man who signed him to a recording contract, a former member of Holly's band, the Crickets, and a couple of disc jockeys who figured in his rise. Still, the one element truly missing from this look at Valens's short, meteoric career is Valens himself. There isn't a single performance clip, only a scrapbook of photographs and some soundless home movies of him playing guitar. For Valens's music, the DVD also includes an audio program, which features every song Valens ever recorded. But to get a sense of Valens himself, you're probably better off with Lou Diamond Phillips's interpretation in the feature film La Bamba. --Marshall Fine« less
"I thought this was a superior and very accurate documentary about the Real Ritchie Valens. He and his family had a HARD life: His father died at the age of 10, leaving the mother to have to work 2 jobs. He worked like HELL to get the small taste of the American Dream that was so unfairly, untimely taken away from him and his family. This documentary will make you want to appreciate the desire to improve your life if you are financially unfortunate.Ritchie was so poor that he had to almost train himself on playing the guitar. His family and friends were always right behind him throughout his life. Hearing about Bob Keane's mishaps in the record business before working hard to create the company that discovered Valens was motivational and you still get a sense that the movie/music industry being crooked isn't a new concept. But the difference is that many artists back then didn't get professional advice when trying to get their hard earned $$.The scene where the family recalls the hell that they went throug with the grief they have held all these years. I lost my brother 3 years ago as violently as Ritchie's death and the video all brought back memories to me. Just be prepared that if you have lost a friend or loved one, especially to a violent death then you might want to take it easy when it gets to the track talking about the aftermath. I had some tears forming by my eyes when I was listening to Ritchie's older brother Bob talking about his reactions when he heard the news Ritchie had been killed.But do watch this DVD, and if you are in the mood check out the book "Ritchie Valens:The First Latino Rocker" by Beverly Mendheim."
A clear message: the young man was special!
Rizzo | Denver, CO | 04/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To have a Mexican song, La Bamba, cross over to rock and roll in the 50's was a phenomenon and the same goes for a Mexican-American singer. Valenzuela, whose named was changed to Ritchie Valens, exploded onto the music scene, and died tragically following a very short career.
Those interviewed were two sisters who were very young at the time of his fame, sister-in-law Rosie who was married to the brother, who so memorably was played by Esai Morales for the "La Bamba" movie. Others interviewed included a journalist on the scene, a member of Buddy Holly's band, the Crickets, Bob Keane from Delfi Records who discovered him, and a few local DJs.
You learn that Ritchie was very dedicated to making music. According to the family, he displayed a love of music very early. He was generous, kind and happy. When fame hit, he was said to be full of energy and had a great attitude.
You will see some footage and snapshots of family, performances, and the crash site. A color pamphlet is also included.
The treat on this DVD is the Audio Program that plays his entire discography, 28 songs. Throughout the country, probably only a handful are still played.
Although produced as low budget, this 2000 DVD documentary was enlightening. The interviews were done amateurishly and that also includes the settings. Splicing of tape for the interviews is obvious with minimal distraction. We can feel the anguish his brother has today, as he shares some regret. And not to diminish the pain the family carries today, but at times the brother is inaudible. .....This DVD is informative! .....Rizzo
The Complete RV is COMPLETE!
Rizzo | 01/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This really is the ultimate package for Ritchie Valens fans. It features interviews with all of his family, artists who performed with him, DJs, Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records, extensive crash info. Not only do you get the 161 minute DVD documentary, but 28 of his songs as an audio feature. Full color booklet inside is great bonus...what more can I say - it is fantastic! Limited Edition probably means you should get it while you can.The only negative thing I can say about it is that the music buries the interviews in most points, otherwise - perfecto!"
Who is Marshall Fine, Larry Fine's brother?
G. Wood | Fenton, MO USA | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone needs to explain to Marshall Fine, whoever that is, that Richie Valens was not 21 years old when he died - he was 17! Welcome to the planet Marshall.
To get to know the real Ritchie Valens
Robert J. Guercia | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a real help to me about a legend that really was a Rocker and not a Teen Idol. I know that if he never died in that plane crash he would have been the voice and sound of Rock 'N' Roll for the gap of time that was between 1959-1964 when Rock 'N' Roll looked like it was dead until The Beatles came in. Heres a story I would like to share about me. I saw La bamba back in the theaters in 1987. I thought it was great and thought that Lou Diamond was Ritchie Valens and that was his sound. 3 months later I was watching TV and saw them advertising Ritchie Valens tapes. And he looked and sounded much differant from what I saw in La Bamba. It scared me and had me scared of Ritchie Valens. I was only 13 years old and grew up a little but this fear followed me for some reason. It was like a monster not leaving a 4 year old alone. Since getting this DVD I have learned about what La Bamba tried to say about him and what he really was. He was a heart warming trooper that lived up to his promise and got his family out of poverty life and gave them money and a real home. If any one can be shown for there passion and heart out of any famous person. You could only be talking about Ritchie who was in all a wonderful kid that gave up his life to support his family as a latin kid getting his family a peace of the american dream that people only dream of. Thank You for a great story about Ritchie Valens."