Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley

Ellas McDaniel (born Ellas Bates;[1] December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), generally known as Bo Diddley, was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who performed a key function within the transition from the blues to rock and roll. He influenced many artists, together with Buddy Holly,[2] Elvis Presley,[3] The Beatles, The Rolling Stones,[4] the Animals, George Thorogood, and the Conflict.[5]

His use of African rhythms and a signature beat, a easy five-accent hambone rhythm, is a cornerstone of hip hop, rock, and pop music.[4][6][7] In recognition of his achievements, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 1987, the Blues Corridor of Fame in 2003, and the Rhythm and Blues Music Corridor of Fame in 2017.[8][6][9] He obtained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Basis and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[10] Diddley can be acknowledged for his technical improvements, together with his use of tremolo and reverb results to boost the sound of his distinctive rectangular-shaped guitar.[11][12]

Life and profession


Born in McComb, Mississippi,[nb 1] as Ellas Bates (some sources give his identify as Otha Ellas Bates or as Elias Otha Bates),[14] Bo Diddley was the one baby of Ethel Wilson, a sharecropper’s teenaged daughter, and Eugene Bates,[15] whom he by no means knew. Wilson was solely sixteen, and being unable to assist a household, she gave her cousin, Gussie McDaniel,[16] permission to lift her son.[13] McDaniel finally adopted him, and he assumed her surname.[17] After his adoptive father Robert died in 1934, when Diddley was 5 years previous,[18] Gussie McDaniel moved with him and her three youngsters to the South Aspect of Chicago;[19][nb 2] he later dropped Otha from his identify and have become Ellas McDaniel.[20] He was an energetic member of Chicago’s Ebenezer Baptist Church,[21] the place he studied the trombone and the violin,[19] turning into so proficient on the violin that the musical director invited him to hitch the orchestra, by which he performed till he was 18. Nevertheless, he was extra within the joyful, rhythmic music he heard at a neighborhood Pentecostal Church and took up the guitar;[22] his first recordings had been primarily based on that frenetic church music.[23] Diddley mentioned he thought that the trance-like rhythm he utilized in his rhythm and blues music got here from the Sanctified church buildings he had attended as a youth in his Chicago neighborhood.[24]

Impressed by a John Lee Hooker efficiency,[6] Diddley supplemented his revenue as a carpenter and mechanic by taking part in on avenue corners with buddies,[25] together with Jerome Inexperienced, within the Hipsters band, later renamed the Langley Avenue Jive Cats.[19] Inexperienced turned a near-constant member of McDaniel’s backing band, the 2 usually buying and selling joking insults with one another throughout dwell exhibits.[26][27] Within the summers of 1943 and 1944, he performed on the Maxwell Road market in a band with Earl Hooker.[28] By 1951 he was taking part in on the road with backing from Roosevelt Jackson on washtub bass and Jody Williams, who had performed harmonica as a boy however took up guitar in his teenagers after he met Diddley at a expertise present,[29] with Diddley educating him some facets of taking part in the instrument,[30] together with methods to play the bass line.[31] Williams later performed lead guitar on “Who Do You Love?” (1956).[30][24]

In 1951, he landed an everyday spot on the 708 Membership, on Chicago’s South Aspect,[32] with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters.[25] In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica participant Billy Boy Arnold, drummer Clifton James and bass participant Roosevelt Jackson and recorded demos of “I am a Man” and “Bo Diddley”. They re-recorded the songs at Common Recording Corp. for Chess Information, with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann (piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums), and Jerome Inexperienced (maracas). The report was launched in March 1955, and the A-side, “Bo Diddley”, turned a primary R&B hit.[33]

Origins of stage identify

The origin of the stage identify Bo Diddley is unclear. McDaniel claimed that his friends gave him the identify, which he suspected was an insult.[34] Diddly is a truncation of diddly squat, which implies “completely nothing”.[35][36]
Diddley additionally mentioned that the identify first belonged to a singer his adoptive mom knew. Harmonicist Billy Boy Arnold mentioned that it was a neighborhood comic’s identify, which Leonard Chess adopted as McDaniel’s stage identify and the title of his first single.[37] McDaniel additionally said that his college classmates in Chicago gave him the nickname, which he began utilizing when sparring and boxing within the neighborhood with The Little Neighborhood Golden Gloves Bunch.[38][39]

Within the story “Black Dying” by Zora Neale Hurston, Beau Diddely was a womanizer who impregnates a younger girl, disavows duty, and meets his undoing by the powers of the native hoodoo man. Hurston submitted it in a contest run by the educational journal Alternative in 1925, the place it received an honorable point out, nevertheless it was by no means revealed in her lifetime.[40][41]

A diddley bow is a home made single-string instrument that survived within the American Deep South,[42] particularly in Mississippi. Performed primarily by youngsters,[43] the diddley bow in its easiest kind was made by nailing a size of broom wire to the aspect of a home, utilizing a rock positioned below the string as a movable bridge, and performed within the model of a bottleneck guitar, with numerous objects used as a slider.[44] The obvious consensus amongst students is that the diddley bow is derived from the monochord zithers of central Africa.[45] Diddley performed his tune “Bo Diddley” in a single string trend on the guitar, within the model of the kids’s instrument.[43]

Success within the Fifties and Sixties

On November 20, 1955, Diddley appeared on the favored tv program The Ed Sullivan Present. In response to legend, when somebody on the present’s employees overheard him casually singing “Sixteen Tons” within the dressing room, he was requested to carry out the tune on the present. Certainly one of Diddley’s later variations of the story was that upon seeing “Bo Diddley” on the cue card, he thought he was to carry out each his self-titled hit single and “Sixteen Tons”.[46] Sullivan was livid and banned Diddley from his present, seemingly saying that he would not final six months. Chess Information included Diddley’s cowl of “Sixteen Tons” on the 1963 album Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.[47]

Diddley’s hit singles continued within the Fifties and Sixties: “Fairly Factor” (1956), “Say Man” (1959), and “You Cannot Decide a Guide by the Cowl” (1962). He additionally launched quite a few albums, together with Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger and Have Guitar, Will Journey. These bolstered his self-invented legend.[26] Between 1958 and 1963, Checker Information launched eleven full-length Bo Diddley albums. Within the Sixties, he broke by way of as a crossover artist with white audiences (showing on the Alan Freed concert events, for instance),[26] however he hardly ever aimed his compositions at youngsters. Diddley was amongst these musicians who capitalized on the mid-Sixties browsing and seaside celebration craze in the USA, and launched the albums Surfin’ with Bo Diddley and Bo Diddley’s Seashore Occasion.[45] These featured heavy, distorted blues, performed on his Gretsch guitar with bended notes and minor key riffs, not like the clear, undistorted sounds of the Fender guitars utilized by the California surf bands. The duvet of Surfin’ with Bo Diddley had {a photograph} of two surfers driving an enormous wave.[48]

In 1963, Diddley starred in a UK live performance tour with the Everly Brothers and Little Richard together with The Rolling Stones (a little-known band at the moment).[49]

Diddley wrote many songs for himself and in addition for others.[50] In 1956, he and guitarist Jody Williams co-wrote the pop tune “Love Is Unusual”, a success for Mickey & Sylvia in 1957, reaching quantity 11 on the chart.[51] Mickey Baker claimed that he (Baker) and Bo Diddley’s spouse, Ethel Smith, wrote the tune.[52] Diddley additionally wrote “Mama (Can I Go Out)”, which was a minor hit for the pioneering rockabilly singer Jo Ann Campbell, who carried out the tune within the 1959 rock and roll movie Go Johnny Go.[53]

After shifting from Chicago to Washington, D.C., Diddley constructed his first house recording studio within the basement of his house at 2614 Rhode Island Avenue NE. Frequented by a number of of Washington, D.C.’s musical luminaries, the studio was the positioning the place he recorded the Checker LP (Checker LP-2977) Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.[54] Diddley additionally produced and recorded a number of up-and-coming teams from the Washington, D.C. space. One of many first teams he recorded was native doo-wop group the Marquees, that includes Marvin Gaye and baritone-bass Chester Simmons, who mooonlighted as Diddley’s chaffeur.[55]

The Marquees appeared in expertise exhibits on the Lincoln Theatre, and Diddley, impressed by their clean vocal supply, allow them to rehearse in his studio. Diddley received the Marquees signed to Columbia subsidiary label OKeh Information after unsuccessfully trying to get them a contract together with his personal label, Chess.[55] The OKeh label rivaled Chess within the promotion of rhythm and blues. On September 25, 1957, Diddley drove the group to New York Metropolis to report “Wyatt Earp”, a novelty tune written by Reese Palmer, lead singer of the Marquees. Diddley produced the session, with the group backed by his personal band. They lower their first report, a single with “Wyatt Earp” on the A-side and “Hey Little Faculty Lady” on the B-side,[56] nevertheless it didn’t change into a success.[57] Diddley persuaded Moonglows founder and backing vocalist Harvey Fuqua to rent Gaye. Gaye joined the Moonglows as first tenor;[58] the group then moved to Detroit with the hope of signing with Motown Information[6] founder Berry Gordy Jr.

Diddley included ladies in his band: Norma-Jean Wofford, also referred to as The Duchess; Gloria Jolivet; Peggy Jones, also referred to as Woman Bo, a lead guitarist (uncommon for a lady at the moment); and Cornelia Redmond, also referred to as Cookie V.[59][60]

Later years

In early 1971, writer-musician Michael Lydon, a founding editor of Rolling Stone, carried out a prolonged, rambling interview of Diddley, at his then house within the San Fernando Valley, California. Lydon described him as a “protean genius” whose songs had been “hymns to himself”, and led the revealed piece with a Diddley quote: “All the pieces I do know I taught myself.”[61]

Diddley on tour in Japan with the Japanese band Bo Gumbos

Over the a long time, Diddley’s performing venues ranged from intimate golf equipment to stadiums. On March 25, 1972, he performed with the Grateful Useless on the Academy of Music in New York Metropolis.[62] The Grateful Useless launched a part of this live performance as Quantity 30 of the band’s live performance album sequence, Dick’s Picks. Additionally within the early Seventies, the soundtrack of the ground-breaking animated movie Fritz the Cat contained his tune “Bo Diddley”, by which a crow dances[63] and finger-pops to the monitor.[64]

Diddley spent some years in New Mexico, dwelling in Los Lunas from 1971 to 1978, whereas persevering with his musical profession. He served for 2 and a half years as a deputy sheriff within the Valencia County Residents’ Patrol; throughout that point he bought and donated three highway-patrol pursuit automobiles.[65] Within the late Seventies, he left Los Lunas and moved to Hawthorne, Florida, the place he lived on a big property in a custom-made log cabin, which he helped to construct. For the rest of his life he divided his time between Albuquerque and Florida, dwelling the final 13 years of his life in Archer, Florida,[66] a small farming city close to Gainesville.

In 1979, he appeared as a gap act for The Conflict on their US tour.[67]

In 1983, he made a cameo look as a Philadelphia pawn store proprietor within the comedy movie Buying and selling Locations.[68][69] He additionally appeared in George Thorogood’s music video for the tune “Unhealthy to the Bone,” portraying a guitar-slinging pool shark.[70]

In 1985, he appeared on George Thorogood’s set, alongside fellow blues legend Albert Collins, on the Dwell Assist American stage to carry out Thorogood’s common cowl of Diddley’s tune Who Do You Love?”.[71]

In 1989, Diddley entered right into a licensing settlement with the sportswear model Nike. The Wieden & Kennedy-produced business within the “Bo Is aware of” marketing campaign teamed Diddley with twin sportsman Bo Jackson.[72] The settlement resulted in 1991,[73] however in 1999, a T-shirt of Diddley’s picture and “You do not know diddley” slogan was bought in a Gainesville, Florida, sports activities attire retailer. Diddley felt that Nike mustn’t proceed to make use of the slogan or his likeness and fought Nike over the copyright infringement. Even supposing attorneys for each events couldn’t come to a renewed authorized association, Nike allegedly continued advertising the attire and ignored cease-and-desist orders,[74] and a lawsuit was filed on Diddley’s behalf, in Manhattan Federal Courtroom.[75]

In Legends of Guitar (filmed dwell in Spain in 1991), Diddley carried out with B.B. King, Les Paul, Albert Collins, and George Benson, amongst others. He joined The Rolling Stones on their 1994 live performance broadcast of Voodoo Lounge, performing “Who Do You Love?”.

Bo Diddley on the Lengthy Seashore Jazz Pageant, 1997 (with drummer Dave Johnson)

In 1996, he launched A Man Amongst Males, his first major-label album (and his ultimate studio album) with visitor artists like Keith Richards, Ron Wooden and the Shirelles. The album earned a Grammy Award nomination in 1997 for the Finest Modern Blues Album class.[50]

Bo Diddley in 2002

Diddley carried out numerous exhibits across the nation in 2005 and 2006, with fellow Rock and Roll Corridor of Famer Johnnie Johnson and his band, consisting of Johnson on keyboards, Richard Hunt on drums and Gus Thornton on bass. In 2006, he participated because the headliner of a grassroots-organized fundraiser live performance to learn the city of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The “Florida Keys for Katrina Reduction” had initially been set for October 23, 2005, when Hurricane Wilma barreled by way of the Florida Keys on October 24, inflicting flooding and financial mayhem.

In January 2006, the Florida Keys had recovered sufficient to host the fundraising live performance to learn the extra hard-hit neighborhood of Ocean Springs. When requested concerning the fundraiser, Diddley said, “That is the USA of America. We imagine in serving to each other”. The all-star band included members of the Soul Suppliers, and famed artists Clarence Clemons of the E Road Band, Joey Covington of Jefferson Airplane, Alfonso Carey of The Village Folks, and Carl Spagnuolo of Jay & The Methods.[76][77] In an interview with Holger Petersen, on Saturday Evening Blues on CBC Radio within the fall of 2006,[78] He commented on racism within the music business institution throughout his early profession, which disadvantaged him of royalties from essentially the most profitable a part of his profession.[79]

His ultimate guitar efficiency on a studio album was with the New York Dolls on their 2006 album One Day It Will Please Us to Bear in mind Even This. He contributed guitar work to the tune “Seventeen”, which was included as a bonus monitor on the limited-edition model of the disc.

In Could 2007, Diddley suffered a stroke after a live performance yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.[80] Nonetheless, he delivered an brisk efficiency to an enthusiastic crowd. A couple of months later he had a coronary heart assault.[81] Whereas recovering, Diddley got here again to his hometown of McComb, Mississippi, in early November 2007, for the disclosing of a plaque dedicated to him on the Mississippi Blues Path. This marked his achievements and famous that he was “acclaimed as a founding father of rock-and-roll.” He was not presupposed to carry out, however as he listened to the music of native musician Jesse Robinson, who sang a tune written for this event, Robinson sensed that Diddley wished to carry out and handed him a microphone, the one time that he carried out publicly after his stroke.[82]

Private life

Marriages and youngsters

Bo Diddley was married 4 occasions. His first marriage, at 18, to Louise Willingham, lasted a yr.[45] Diddley married his second spouse Ethel Mae Smith in 1949; that they had two youngsters.[83] He met his third spouse, Kay Reynolds, when she was 15, whereas performing in Birmingham, Alabama.[81] They quickly moved in collectively and married, regardless of taboos in opposition to interracial marriage.[81] That they had two daughters.[83] He married his fourth spouse, Sylvia Paiz, in 1992; they had been divorced on the time of his dying.[81][45]

Well being issues

On Could 13, 2007, Diddley was admitted to intensive care in Creighton College Medical Heart in Omaha, Nebraska, following a stroke after a live performance yesterday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.[80] Beginning the present, he had complained that he didn’t really feel properly. He referred to smoke from the wildfires that had been ravaging south Georgia and blowing south to the world close to his house in Archer, Florida. The subsequent day, as he was heading again house, he appeared dazed and confused on the airport; 911 and airport safety had been referred to as, and he was instantly taken by ambulance to Creighton College Medical Heart the place he stayed for a number of days. After exams, it was confirmed that he had suffered a stroke.[84] Diddley had a historical past of hypertension and diabetes, and the stroke affected the left aspect of his mind, inflicting receptive and expressive aphasia (speech impairment).[85] The stroke was adopted by a coronary heart assault, which he suffered in Gainesville, Florida, on August 28, 2007.[81]


Bo Diddley died on June 2, 2008, of coronary heart failure at his house in Archer, Florida on the age of 79.[86][87] Garry Mitchell, his grandson and certainly one of greater than thirty-five members of the family on the musician’s house when he died at 1:45 am. EDT, mentioned his dying was not surprising. “There was a gospel tune that was sung [at his bedside] and [when it was done] he mentioned ‘wow’ with a thumbs up,” Mitchell informed Reuters, when requested to explain the scene on the deathbed. “The tune was ‘Stroll Round Heaven’ and in his final phrases he said that he was going to heaven.”[88]

He was survived by his youngsters, Evelyn Kelly, Ellas A. McDaniel, Pamela Jacobs, Steven Jones, Terri Lynn McDaniel-Hines, and Tammi D. McDaniel; a brother, the Rev. Kenneth Haynes; and eighteen grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.[81]

His funeral, a four-hour “homegoing” service, happened on June 7, 2008, at Showers of Blessings Church in Gainesville, Florida. Some in attendance chanted “Hey Bo Diddley” because the Archer Church of God in Christ gospel band performed. A variety of notable musicians despatched flowers, together with Little Richard, George Thorogood, Tom Petty and Jerry Lee Lewis.[89][90] Little Richard, who had been asking his audiences to hope for Bo Diddley all through his sickness, needed to fulfill live performance commitments in Westbury and New York Metropolis the weekend of the funeral. He remembered Diddley on the live performance, performing his namesake tune.[91]

After the funeral service, a tribute live performance was held on the Martin Luther King Heart in Gainesville, Florida, and featured visitor performances by his son and daughter, Ellas A. McDaniel and Evelyn “Tan” Cooper; long-time background vocalist and unique Boette, Gloria Jolivet; long-time buddy, co-producer, and former Bo Diddley & Offspring guitarist Scott “Skyntyte” Free; and Eric Burdon. Within the days following his dying, tributes had been paid by then-President George W. Bush, the USA Home of Representatives, and musicians and performers together with B. B. King, Ronnie Hawkins, Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wooden, George Thorogood, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph and the Household Band and Eric Burdon. Burdon used video footage of the McDaniel household and buddies in mourning for a video selling his ABKCO Information launch “Bo Diddley Particular”.[citation needed]

In November 2009, the guitar utilized by Bo Diddley in his ultimate stage efficiency bought for $60,000 at public sale.[92]

In 2019, members of Bo Diddley’s household sued to regain management of the music catalog held in belief by legal professional Charles Littell. The household was profitable in appointing a brand new trustee, music business veteran Kendall Minter.[93] The household was represented by Charles David of Florida Probate Regulation Group within the 2019 lawsuit.[94][95]


Bo Diddley was posthumously awarded a Physician of High quality Arts diploma by the College of Florida for his affect on American common music. In its Folks in America radio sequence, about influential individuals in American historical past, the Voice of America radio service paid tribute to him, describing how “his affect was so widespread that it’s arduous to think about what rock and roll would have gave the impression of with out him.” Mick Jagger said that “he was a beautiful, unique musician who was an unlimited power in music and was an enormous affect on The Rolling Stones. He was very beneficiant to us in our early years and we discovered lots from him”. Jagger additionally praised the late star as a one-of-a-kind musician, including, “We’ll by no means see his like once more”.[96] The documentary movie Cheat You Honest: The Story of Maxwell Road by director Phil Ranstrom options Bo Diddley’s final on-camera interview.[97]

He achieved quite a few accolades in recognition of his important function as one of many founding fathers of rock and roll.

  • 1986: Inducted into the Washington Space Music Affiliation’s Corridor of Fame.
  • 1987: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame[6]
  • 1987: Inducted into the Rockabilly Corridor of Fame
  • 1990: Lifetime Achievement Award from Guitar Participant journal
  • 1996: Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Basis
  • 1998: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award[10]
  • 1999: His 1955 recording of his tune “Bo Diddley” inducted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame[98]
  • 2000: Inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Corridor of Fame[99]
  • 2000: Inducted into the North Florida Music Affiliation’s Corridor of Fame
  • 2002: Pioneer in Leisure Award from the Nationwide Affiliation of Black Owned Broadcasters
  • 2002: Honored as one of many first BMI Icons on the fiftieth annual BMI Pop Awards, together with BMI associates Chuck Berry and Little Richard.[100]
  • 2003: Inducted into the Blues Corridor of Fame[8]
  • 2008: Honorary Physician of High quality Arts diploma posthumously conferred on Diddley by the College of Florida in August (the award had been confirmed earlier than his dying in June).
  • 2020: Induction into the Florida Artists Corridor of Fame
  • 2010: Induction into the Hit Parade Corridor of Fame.[101]
  • 2017: Inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Corridor of Fame.[9]

In 2003, U.S. Consultant John Conyers paid tribute to Bo Diddley in the USA Home of Representatives, describing him as “one of many true pioneers of rock and roll, who has influenced generations”.[102]

In 2004, Mickey and Sylvia’s 1956 recording of “Love Is Unusual” (a tune first recorded by Bo Diddley however not launched till a yr earlier than his dying) was inducted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame as a recording of qualitative or historic significance. Additionally in 2004, Bo Diddley was inducted into the Blues Basis’s Blues Corridor of Fame and was ranked quantity 20 on Rolling Stone journal’s listing of the 100 Best Artists of All Time.[103]

In 2005, Bo Diddley celebrated his fiftieth anniversary in music with profitable excursions of Australia and Europe and with coast-to-coast exhibits throughout North America. He carried out his tune “Bo Diddley” with Eric Clapton and Robbie Robertson on the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame’s twentieth annual induction ceremony. Within the UK, Uncut journal included his 1957 debut album, Bo Diddley, in its itemizing of the ‘100 Music, Film & TV Moments That Have Modified the World’.

Bo Diddley was honored by the Mississippi Blues Fee with a Mississippi Blues Path historic marker positioned in McComb, his birthplace, in recognition of his huge contribution to the event of the blues in Mississippi.[104] On June 5, 2009, the town of Gainesville, Florida, formally renamed and devoted its downtown plaza the Bo Diddley Neighborhood Plaza. The plaza was the positioning of a profit live performance at which Bo Diddley carried out to lift consciousness concerning the plight of the homeless in Alachua County and to lift cash for native charities, together with the Crimson Cross.


The “Bo Diddley beat” is basically the clave rhythm, one of the crucial widespread bell patterns present in sub-Saharan African music traditions.[105] One scholar discovered this rhythm in 13 rhythm and blues recordings made within the years 1944–55, together with two by Johnny Otis from 1948.[106]

Bo Diddley gave completely different accounts of how he started to make use of this rhythm. Ned Sublette says, “Within the context of the time, and particularly these maracas [heard on the record], ‘Bo Diddley’ must be understood as a Latin-tinged report. A rejected lower recorded on the identical session was titled solely ‘Rhumba’ on the monitor sheets.”[107] The Bo Diddley beat is just like “hambone”, a method utilized by avenue performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks whereas chanting rhymes.[108] Considerably resembling the “shave and a haircut, two bits” rhythm, Diddley got here throughout it whereas making an attempt to play Gene Autry’s “(I’ve Obtained Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle”.[109] Three years earlier than his “Bo Diddley”, a tune with comparable syncopation “Hambone”, was lower by the Crimson Saunders Orchestra with the Hambone Children. In 1944, “Rum and Coca Cola”, containing the Bo Diddley beat, was recorded by the Andrews Sisters. Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” (1957) and Them’s “Mystic Eyes” (1965) used the beat.[110]

“Bo Diddley beat”[110]/Son clave audio speaker iconPlay .

In its easiest kind, the Bo Diddley beat will be counted out as both a one-bar or a two-bar phrase. Right here is the rely as a one-bar phrase: One e and ah, two e and ah, three e and ah, 4 e and ah (the boldface counts are the clave rhythm).

Many songs (for instance, “Hey Bo Diddley” and “Who Do You Love?”) usually don’t have any chord adjustments; that’s, the musicians play the identical chord all through the piece, in order that the rhythms create the joy, slightly than having the joy generated by harmonic rigidity and launch. In his different recordings, Bo Diddley used numerous rhythms, from straight again beat to pop ballad model to doo-wop, continuously with maracas by Jerome Inexperienced.[111] His 1955 rhythm and blues hit, “Bo Diddley”, had a “driving African rhythm and ham-bone beat”.[112] Starting that very same yr, Diddley collaborated with numerous doo-wop vocal teams, utilizing the Moonglows as a backing group on his first album, Bo Diddley, launched in 1958. In one of the crucial well-known of his 1958 doo-wop periods, Diddley added harmonies by the Carnations recording because the Teardrops, who sang clean, polished doo-wop within the backgrounds on the songs “I am Sorry”, “Crackin’ Up”, and “Do not Let it Go”.[19]

An influential guitar participant, Bo Diddley developed many particular results and different improvements in tone and assault, significantly the “shimmering” tremolo sound,[12][113] and amp reverb. His trademark instrument was his self-designed, one-of-a-kind, rectangular-bodied “Twang Machine” (known as “cigar-box formed” by music promoter Dick Clark), constructed by Gretsch. He had different uniquely formed guitars custom-made for him by different producers all through the years, most notably the “Cadillac” and the oblong “Turbo 5-speed” (with built-in envelope filter, flanger and delay) designs, made by Tom Holmes (who additionally made guitars for ZZ High’s Billy Gibbons, amongst others). In a 2005 interview on JJJ radio in Australia, he implied that the oblong design sprang from an embarrassing second. Throughout an early gig, whereas leaping round on stage with a Gibson L5 guitar, he landed awkwardly, hurting his groin.[114][115] He then went about designing a smaller, less-restrictive guitar that allowed him to maintain leaping round on stage whereas nonetheless taking part in his guitar. He additionally performed the violin, which is featured on his mournful instrumental “The Clock Strikes Twelve”, a twelve-bar blues.[116]

Diddley usually created lyrics as witty and humorous variations of people music themes. His first hit, “Bo Diddley”, was primarily based on hambone rhymes.[117] The primary line of his tune “Hey Bo Diddley” is derived from the nursery rhyme “Outdated MacDonald”.[118] The tune “Who Do You Love?” with its rap-style boasting, and his use of the African-American recreation generally known as “the handfuls” on the songs “Say Man” and “Say Man, Again Once more,” are cited as progenitors of hip-hop music;[119] for instance, within the dialogue of the tune, “Say Man”, percussionist Jerome Inexperienced says the strains: “You’ve got received the nerve to name someone ugly. Why, you so ugly until the stork that introduced you on this planet oughta be arrested.”[117]


I used to get mad about individuals recording my issues; now I received a brand new factor going … I do not get mad about them recording my materials as a result of they preserve me alive.

Bo Diddley, 1969 Pop Chronicles interview[120]

Studio albums

  • Bo Diddley (Checker, 1958)
  • Go Bo Diddley (Checker, 1959)
  • Have Guitar Will Journey (Checker, 1960)
  • Bo Diddley within the Highlight (Checker, 1960)
  • Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger (Checker, 1960)
  • Bo Diddley Is a Lover (Checker, 1961)
  • Bo Diddley’s a Tornado (Checker, 1962)
  • Bo Diddley (Checker, 1962)
  • Bo Diddley & Firm (Checker, 1963)
  • Surfin’ with Bo Diddley (Checker, 1963)
  • Hey! Good Lookin’ (Checker, 1965)
  • 500{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} Extra Man (Checker, 1965)
  • The Originator (Checker, 1966)
  • The Black Gladiator (Checker, 1970)
  • One other Dimension (Chess, 1971)
  • The place It All Started (Chess, 1972)
  • The London Bo Diddley Classes (Chess, 1973)
  • Large Unhealthy Bo (Chess, 1974)
  • twentieth Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll (RCA Victor, 1976)
  • Ain’t It Good to Be Free (New Rose, 1983)
  • Residing Legend (New Rose, 1989)
  • Breakin’ By means of the B.S. (Triple X, 1989)
  • This Ought to Not Be (Triple X, 1992)
  • A Man Amongst Males (Atlantic, 1996)


  • Chuck Berry Is on High, with Chuck Berry (Chess, 1959)
  • Two Nice Guitars, with Chuck Berry (Checker, 1964)
  • Tremendous Blues, with Muddy Waters and Little Walter (Checker, 1967)
  • The Tremendous Tremendous Blues Band, with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf (Checker, 1968)

Chart singles

Yr Single Chart Positions
US Pop[121] US
1955 “Bo Diddley” /
“I am a Man”
“Diddley Daddy” 11
1956 “Fairly Factor” 4 34
(in 1963)
1959 “I am Sorry” 17
“Crackin Up” 62 14
“Say Man” 20 3
“Say Man, Again Once more” 23
1960 “Street Runner” 75 20
1962 “You Cannot Decide a Guide by the Cowl” 48 21
1965 “Hey Good Lookin'” 39
1967 “Ooh Child” 88 17



  • Arsicaud, Laurent (2012). Bo Diddley, Je suis un homme. Camion Blanc editions.
  • White, George R. (1995), Residing Legend. Sanctuary Publishing.

  • Official web site
  • Bo Diddley interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  • Bo Diddley at IMDb
  • “Bo Diddley”. Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. Edit this at Wikidata

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