BUDDY HOLLY LIVES
RRITCHIE VALENS' GRAVESTONE
The Story Behind
It began with an e-mail I received 2 weeks ago.
A German Buddy Holly & 3 Stars fan wrote me
that he found an article in a German magazine.
As he said, the article might be of interest
to the readers of my website.
This article was about Ritchie Valens, the youngest
victim of the tragic plane crash on February 3rd, 1959,
a day that went down in history and is still called
THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED
thanks to Don McLean, it also ended the lives of
Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper).
Ritchie dead outside the plane
YEEHAAW! MAG, GERMANY, Part 1
Yeehaaw! Editor's Note, Part 1:
Following a rumor I started to collect some information
and after a phone call everything was clear:
I was on the track of one of the most
obscure Rock'n Roll memorabilia objects.
No, this time it wasn't about a record, but about a
gravestone; more precisely that of Ritchie Valens!
It is known that J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper), Buddy Holly
and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash on 3.2.1959.
Ritchie was buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery.
In 1987 Ritchie's mother died shortly after the performance
of "La Bamba" in which she was still playing.
She had already secured herself a place next to her son's grave.
Ritchie in a TV Show
Thereupon the original gravestone was exchanged for a
new one with the names and dates of mother and son.
No one knew what to do with the old stone, so the
stonemason took it with him and put it in his hall.
In the hall of the stonemason
Years later his son came across it and as chance would have it,
he knew a Hollywood-based dealer for Hollywood memorabilia.
The coroner's report
After that the gravestone landed profanely on Ebay,
where the collector Harald Hertlein became aware of it.
Ritchie's 1st gravestone
YEEHAAW! MAG, GERMANY, Part 2
Yeehaaw! Editor's Note, Part 2:
Harald is one of the few absolute
Ritchie Valens fans and collectors,
long before the film "La Bamba" was released
and Ritchie became really known.
So after some back and forth the stone reached Leverkusen,
where Harald had it walled into the wall of his office.
Maybe the whole thing seems a bit macabre to
some people, but as Harald remarked:
"Too bad to throw away, too curious to own, but just awesome."
Such a thing is unique.
So, if you want to save yourself the trip to California,
Ritchie's original gravestone is in Leverkusen, Germany.
© Yeehaaw Magazine
Translation by Hans
The additional pics for this topic were sent
in by Uwe Kischkel, editor of the magazine.
For further information / Für weitere Informationen :
Many thanks, vielen Dank, Uwe!
Hans, editor www.buddyhollylives.info