DONNA (Ritchie Valens)

Donna (Ritchie Valens song)

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Released December 1958
Format 45 record
Recorded December 16, 1958
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:20
Label Del-Fi 4110
Songwriter(s) Ritchie Valens

“Donna” is a song sung by Ritchie Valens, featuring the 50s progression.The song was released in 1958 on Del-Fi Records. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the following year, becoming Valens’ highest-charting single. It was written as a tribute to his high school sweetheart Donna Ludwig.

The song was recorded on December 16, 1958, at the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. Bob Keene is listed by whom? as having been the leader of the session, which included Earl Palmer on drums; Buddy Clark on bass; and Valens, Rene Hall, Irving Ashby, and Carole Kaye on guitars.

“Donna”, the second Ritchie Valens single released, was the A side of the influential and more famous[according to whom?] song “La Bamba”. This single was only one of three, along with the previous single (“Come On, Let’s Go”/”Framed” – Del-Fi 4106) and the follow-up (“Fast Freight”/”Big Baby Blues” – Del-Fi 4111) ever released in Valens’ lifetime. Original Del-Fi pressings of “Donna”/”La Bamba” include black and sea green labels with circles, later replaced with solid sea green or solid dark green labels. Early 1960s pressings have black labels with sea green “sawtooth” outer edge.

Valens’ version was positioned at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart when Valens died. Three weeks after Valens’ death, the song peaked at No. 2.