Ritchie Valens was only 21 when he died in the January 1959 plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, after a concert in Mason City, Iowa. This DVD (which includes Spanish subtitles) offers a 90-minute documentary about his life, featuring interviews with his brother and other family members, as well as with the man who signed him to a recording contract, a former member of Holly's band, the Crickets, and a couple of disc jockeys who figured in his rise. Still, the one element truly missing from this look at Valens's short, meteoric career is Valens himself. There isn't a single performance clip, only a scrapbook of photographs and some soundless home movies of him playing guitar. For Valens's music, the DVD also includes an audio program, which features every song Valens ever recorded. But to get a sense of Valens himself, you're probably better off with Lou Diamond Phillips's interpretation in the feature film La Bamba
. --Marshall Fine
From the Back Cover
Whirlwind Media is proud to present a unique DVD package, The Complete Ritchie Valens
. Included in the video chapter is a never-before-seen documentary, Viva Ritchie: The Ritchie Valens Story
. Culled from interviews with family members, fellow musicians, and industry colleagues, this 95-minute presentation also includes rare home movie footage, rehearsal recordings, family pictures and memorabilia, and publicity stills from the archives of Del-Fi Records. The audio chapter includes every studio master take performed by Ritchie, digitally remastered from the original master tapes. An interactive chapter allows the viewer to browse through dozens of photos, letters, and mementos from Ritchie's short life.