Early rock and roll musician whose La Bamba is considered the first Latin rock hit. He admitted, despite being of Latin descent, he didn't know any Spanish until recording the song. Valens was killed in a 1959 plane crash alongside Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper in what became immortalized in the folk rock song American Pie as "the day the music died". La Bamba was successfully covered by Latin rock band Los Lobos. Despite his fame he was not inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame until 2001. Valens was only seventeen at the time of his death.
Rock and roll