Kelly Clarkson Dusts Off a Rock and Roll Gem With Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’ Cover

The pop star performed Valens’ hit 1958 take on the Mexican folk song on The Kelly Clarkson Show

Kelly Clarkson continues to keep audiences on their toes with her Kellyoke choices, this time turning back the clock and reviving an early rock and roll classic.

On Tuesday, April 20, Clarkson and her Kelly Clarkson Show backing outfit, My Band Y’all, delivered a bustling rendition of “La Bamba,” the Mexican folk song that Ritchie Valens scored a star-making hit with in 1958. 

“La Bamba” was the first Spanish-language track to crack the Top 40 in the U.S., rising all the way to Number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time. As Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo told Rolling Stone in 2021 for a story commemorating what would’ve been Valens’ 80th birthday, “His version of ‘La Bamba’ has a purity to it. It’s simple enough for anybody around the world to feel it.” (Los Lobos notched a hit with the song as well in 1987.)


Earlier this week, Clarkson covered Journey’s “Faithfully” on Kellyoke, joined by social media star Jude Keyz on piano. She also performed her own new song, “Mine,” which will appear on her forthcoming studio album, Chemistry, out June 23. 

“I was feeling all the feelings when I wrote that one,” Clarkson said of the song. “Anyway, it’s one of those songs, though, that I really wanted to release as one of the first singles to go out because I just love that I’ve never really done anything like that on a chorus, never changed tempo in a song. It was just a different vibe for me overall. I was very excited about it — but obviously, it’s also just very angry and sad. But I let it out and I feel great now.” (And, no, the song does not contain a Troye Sivan sneak diss.)

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