Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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La Bamba

First recorded by El Jarocho (1939).
Hit versions by Richie Valens (US #22/UK #49 1958), Los Lobos (US #1/UK #1/CAN #1/AUS #1/NZ #1/IRE #1 1987).

From the wiki: “Originally a wedding dance (from the Veracruz area), ‘La Bamba’ eventually became a standard in the Son Jarocho-style repertoire. The name of the dance, which has no direct English translation, is presumably connected with the Spanish verb bambolear, meaning ‘to shake’ or perhaps ‘to stomp’.

“The traditional song inspired Ritchie Valens’ rock and roll version of ‘La Bamba’ in 1958, making the song accessible to a much wider record audience and earning it (and Valens) a place in rock history. When Valens’ version, covered by Los Lobos, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1987, it completed the fact that all three musicians who died in the famous plane crash on February 3, 1959, had been credited with writing a #1 single. Buddy Holly had songwriting credit for ‘That’ll Be The Day’ which hit the top in 1957; J.P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson was credited with writing ‘Running Bear’ which Johnny Preston took to #1 in 1960.”

Richie Valens, “La Bamba” (1958):

Los Lobos, “La Bamba” (1987):

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