This song is a traditional mexican flamenco style number that was created over 300 years ago. The original version is not exactly what we are familiar with today.
The man responsible for taking the original traditional number and re-working it is Ritchie Valens. He took the song and turned it into a rock and roll number which was released in 1958. His version made it onto Billboard's list of Greatest Songs of All Time - number 345. This song was Ritchie's biggest hit even though his professional career lasted only 8 months. But in that time, he did big things. On the Day that Music Died, Febuary 3, 1959, he died in a plane crash aged 18. The plane crash also took the lives of Buddy Holly and JP Richardson.
A movie on Ritchie's short life was made in 1987 with Lou Diamond Phillips playing Valens. The soundtrack of that movie featured La Bamba performed by Los Lobos. This is the most popular version of the song.
A lot of other artists have also covered this song: Selena (1988), Marco Da Silva (2000), Dustry Springfield (1968), Wyclef (2004) etc.
A search for all the versions was futile. I have only heard the original, the Los Lobos, Wycleg and Dusty versions.
Playing on my blog are Ritchie Valens' version and the Los Lobos version....
Which do you prefer?