News Article

La Bamba


La Bamba, Lou Diamond Phillips
Image credit: La Bamba: Everett Collection

45. LA BAMBA (1987)
SUBJECT: Ritchie Valens

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 Oct 21, 2004

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