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Movies about musicians: ''La Bamba''

(1987)

La Bamba, Lou Diamond Phillips | Writer-director Luis Valdez took a little-known piece of the rock and roll puzzle — the life of Latino rock groundbreaker Valens (played by then-newcomer Lou…

45. LA BAMBA (1987)
SUBJECT: Ritchie Valens

Writer-director Luis Valdez took a little-known piece of the rock and roll puzzle — the life of Latino rock groundbreaker Valens (played by then-newcomer Lou Diamond Phillips), who went down on that plane with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper the Day the Music Died — and found its own rich tapestry. Plus, it had kick-ass music by Los Lobos. Which is always good. —Marc Bernardin

(La Bamba: Everett Collection)

Movies about musicians: ”La Bamba”

LEAD SINGER Lou Diamond Phillips straps on a Stratocaster to play the late Ritchie Valens, the first Latin rock and roll star.

PITCH-PERFECT? Latter-day Latin rock group Los Lobos ably re-create Valens’ hits, including ”La Bamba” (actually a reworked Mexican folk song) and ”Donna.”

HUMBLE ORIGINS Valens’ family lives in a camp for migrant workers.

HIGH NOTE Valens wins over skeptical Anglos with a manic version of Buddy Holly’s ”Oh Boy.”

GUEST STAR Brian Setzer turns up as rockabilly singer Eddie Cochran.

TRAGIC ENDING The day the music died, remember? At the age of 17, Valens is killed in a plane crash, along with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. Holly also got a movie, but when does the poor Big Bopper get one? Hello, baby?

Originally posted October 22 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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