With a twanging guitar riff and one full throated cry of "para bailer la bamba", Ritchie Valens howled himself into rock'n'roll folklore, becoming Latin America's answer to Elvis Presley and sending Los Angeles teenagers into a frenzy. Raised in Pacoima, California by his Mexican father, Valens taught himself to play guitar and soon became the front man of local band The Silhouettes. Discovered by producer and label boss Bob Keane, he first hit the charts at barely 16-years-old with Come On, Let's Go, before his ballad Donna shot to Number 2. But it was the B-side La Bamba - a sexy, rock'n'roll cover of an old Mexican folk song - that shook up the nation's Latino community and became an all-time classic. Sadly his star only shone for 18 months, as Valens died alongside Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper when their plane crashed in Iowa on February 3, 1959. The tragedy was described as "the day the music died" in the Don McLean song American Pie and Valens' legacy has endured, his music inspiring the likes of Carlos Santana, Los Lobos and generations of Chicano rockers.