Now Known As Pacoima Middle School –
Pacoima Middle School opened in 1954 as Pacoima Junior High School.
On December 10, 1958, Ritchie Valens, who had just completed a tour of Hawaii, gave a performance at his old Junior High School in Pacoima. The show was emceed by Gail Smith, a close friend of his who later became president of the Ritchie Valens Memorial Fan Club in Los Angeles. The concert was taped using a small portable tape recorder.
Ritchie’s manager Robert Keane received a tremendous amount of letters from fan club members looking for new Ritchie Valens material. He responded by obtaining the tape of four songs from the Pacoima Junior High show and making a record of it.
As Valens’ entire Gold Star Studios output had already been released on his first two albums, side two was filled with unfinished demos recorded at Keane’s home studio.
On June 15, 1985, a mural depicting the life of Ritchie Valens was dedicated at Pacoima Middle School. An alumnus of the school, Manuel Velasquez, painted the mural.
Ritchie was tragically killed on February 3, 1959, just a couple months after this concert along with Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson known as “The Big Bopper” on what has become known as The Day The Music Died.
Pacoima Middle School
9919 Laurel Canyon Blvd
Pacoima CA 91331