1941 – He was born as Richard Steven Valenzuela the 13th day of May this year in Pacoima, California, USA.
1946 – By the age of 5 he expressed an interest in making music of his own. He was encouraged by his father to take up guitar and trumpet, and it is known that he later taught himself the drums.
1956 he joined a local garage band who performed at record hops in the San Fernando Valley area. During one of these performances, he was heard by Bob Keane, the president of Del-Fi Records, who offered to become his manager and signed him to a recording contract.
1958 – He was invited to join a local band named The Silhouettes as a guitarist. Later on, the main vocalist left the group and Ritchie assumed this position as well. In addition to the performances with The Silhouettes, he would play solo at parties and other social gatherings. In October 1958, the single "Donna"/"La Bamba" was issued. Contrary to popular belief it was actually the ballad "Donna", that was the bigger hit, reaching number 2 on the national charts. "La Bamba" only reached number 22 in the USA. However, it proved to be the more remembered song.
1959 – He died of plane crash at an early age of 17 years old on the 3rd day of February of this year near Clear Lake, Iowa, USA.