Ritchie Valens Gets Highway Named After Him

California has approved Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra’s bill that would officially rename a portion of Interstate 5 between State Route 170 and State Route 118 after rock and roll icon Ritchie Valens. 

The singer was raised in Pacoimas and Bocanegra says Valens is a large part of the Valley's culture.

“His music inspired and influenced a generation of Chicano artists in our community and throughout the world. It’s only fitting to name this segment of the I-5 after a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer who grew up right here in Pacoima.”

Valens sister says their family is honored by the bill's passing.

“The Ritchie Valens family would like to express their gratitude for the legislation to be submitted by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra on behalf of our brother Ritchie Valens in the renaming of a section of the I-5 freeway. Ritchie became a Rock N’ Roll icon at the age 17; he’s not only a Rock N’ Roll pioneer, but a role model for artists and youth all over the world.”

Valens attended Pacoima High School and became a hit recording artist when he was discovered in 1958 at the American Legion Hall. 

He appeared on the then-popular TV show “American Bandstand” and recorded his smash hits as “Come On, Let’s Go”, “Donna” and "La Bamba".

Valens died when he was 17 years-old on Febuary 3, 1959, in a plane crash that also killed singers Buddy Holly and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. 

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