Video Diversion: Ritchie Valens Boogies With Stu
The song is the Valens composition “Oooh, My Head,” which inspired Zeppelin to record “Boogie With Stu” for the band’s 1975 album, Physical Graffiti.
The clip below is taken from “Go, Johnny, Go!,” which starred 50’s rock ‘n’ roll disk jockey Alan Freed playing himself looking for that next singing sensation. That’s Freed sitting next to Chuck Berry at the table to the viewer’s left.
But Valens wasn’t the star of the movie; in addition to Berry, the flick also included appearances by Eddie Cochran and Jackie Wilson. The movie featured Freed looking for an elusive performer – Johnny Melody, played by pop singer Jimmy Clanton – who wins the talent show but vanishes before he can receive the award.
Of course, Freed has his own history. Not only was the Cleveland-based DJ credited with coining and popularizing the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll,” but his “Moondog Coronation Ball” held in 1952 at the Cleveland Arena is considered to be the first rock ‘n’ roll show in history. In fact, it’s Freed’s Cleveland connection that led the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame to locate in the city.
Valen’s “Oooh, My Head” would inspire Led Zeppelin to write and record “Boogie With Stu” almost two decades later. Zeppelin credited “Mrs. Valens” and Ian Stewart as co-writers. Stewart played piano on the track.
Supposedly, the band credited Valens’ mother so she could receive royalties. But no good deed goes unpunished and Valens’ publishers sued Zeppelin over the song. The band and the publishers eventually reached an undisclosed settlement.