Monday, June 02, 2008


Breaking news.

For fucks sake, we all knew he was sick, but I’m sad to hear that my idol Bo Diddley passed away today.
The Originator is gone.
Is there a God somewhere ?
Here's a short bio for those who still live, actually hear, in the dark.

Born in McComb, Mississippi, he was adopted and raised by his mother's cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he adopted, becoming Ellas McDaniel. The family moved to Chicago when he was seven.He took violin lessons as a youth, but was inspired to become a guitarist after seeing John Lee Hooker.
He worked as a carpenter and mechanic, but also began a musical career playing on street corners with friends, including Jerome Green(c. 1934–1973),as a band called the Hipsters (later the Langley Avenue Jive Cats). In 1951, he landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side, with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters. He adopted the stage name, Bo Diddley, which is probably a southern black slang phrase meaning "nothing at all," as in "he ain't bo diddley." Another source says it was his nickname as a teenage Golden Gloves boxer. The nickname is also linked to the diddley bow, a two-stringed instrument that was used in the south by black musicians working in the fields.
In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, drummer Clifton James and bass player Roosevelt Jackson, and recorded demos of "I'm A Man" and "Bo Diddley". They re-recorded the songs at Chess Studios with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann (piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums) and Jerome Green (maracas). The record was released in March 1955, and the A-side, "Bo Diddley", became a #1 R&B hit.
Bo Diddley is well known for the "Bo Diddley beat," a rumba-like beat, similar to "hambone", a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes. Occasionally (but incorrectly) referred to as a "shave and a haircut" beat, Diddley came across it while trying to play Gene Autry's "(I've Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle". Three years before Bo's "Bo Diddley," a song that closely resembles it, "Hambone," was cut by Red Saunders' Orchestra with The Hambone Kids.
His songs (for example, "Hey Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love?") often have no chord changes; that is, the musicians play the same chord throughout the piece, so that excitement is created by the rhythm, rather than by harmonic tension and release. In his own recordings, Bo Diddley used a variety of rhythms, from straight back beat to pop ballad style, frequently with maracas by Jerome Green.
He also was an influential guitar player, with many special effects and other innovations in tone and attack. Bo Diddley's trademark instrument is the rectangular-bodied Gretsch, nicknamed "The Twang Machine" (although he had other similar-shaped guitars custom-made for him by other manufacturers), a guitar that he developed himself around 1958 and wielded in thousands of concerts over the years. In a 2005 interview on JJJ radio in Australia, Bo implied that the design was born from embarrassment. In an early gig, while jumping around on stage with a Gibson L5 guitar, he landed awkwardly hurting his groin.
His lyrics were often witty and humorous adaptations of folk music themes. The song "Bo Diddley" was based on the lullaby "Hush Little Baby." Likewise, "Hey Bo Diddley" is based on the folk song "Old MacDonald". The rap-style boasting of "Who Do You Love", a wordplay on hoodoo, used many striking lyrics from the African-American tradition of toasts and boasts. His "Say Man" and "Say Man, Back Again" both share a strong connection to the insult game known as the dozens. For example: "You got the nerve to call somebody ugly, why you so ugly the stork that brought you into the world ought to be arrested".
On November 20, 1955, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show only to infuriate the host. "I did two songs and he got mad," Bo Diddley later recalled. "Ed Sullivan said that I was one of the first colored boys to ever double-cross him. Said that I wouldn't last six months". Bo Diddley was asked to sing Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit "Sixteen Tons", but when he appeared on stage, he sang "Bo Diddley." He was banned from further appearances.
He continued to have hits through the late 1950s and the 1960s, including "Pretty Thing" (1956), "Say Man" (1959) and "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover" (1962). He released a string of albums whose titles — including Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger and Have Guitar, Will Travel — bolstered his self-invented legend. Between 1958 and 1963, Checker Records released 11 full-length albums by Bo Diddley. Although Bo Diddley was a breakthrough crossover artist with white audiences, appearing on the Alan Freed concerts, for example, he rarely tailored his compositions to teenage concerns.
In 1963, he starred in a UK concert tour with the Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The Rolling Stones, still unknown, were much lower on the same bill. Over the decades, his performances have ranged from sweaty Chicago clubs to rock and roll oldies tours. He appeared as an opening act for The Clash and as a guest of the Rolling Stones. On March 25, 1972, he played with The Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music in New York City.
In addition to the many songs identified with him, he wrote the pioneering pop song "Love Is Strange" for Mickey and Sylvia under a pseudonym.
Bo Diddley was one of the first American musicians to have women in his band, including Peggy Jones (aka Lady Bo, b.1940), Norma-Jean Wofford (aka The Duchess, c.1942-2005) and Cornelia Redmond (aka Cookie). He also set up one of the first home recording studios.

Well, thanks wikipedia.

Bloody hell, I’m really sad.
Along with Link Wray, Bo Diddley was a true hero to me…
I'm sure (and hope) there’ll be a thousand tributes all over the web...
Aw’C’mon, the man was pretty much everything to us!

Bo Diddley :
* Bo Diddley *
* Down Home Special *
* Hey Bo Diddley *
* Mona *
* Rock'n' Roll *
* Who Do You Love *
* Who May Your Lover Be *
* Road Runner (Live) *


Blogger The DoorKeeper said...

Gimme A Ticket To McComb, Mississippi


2:17 AM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Is there a God somewhere?
Yes and he is rocking today along with new man in the neighborhood.

5:50 AM  
Blogger erik hogstrom said...

I listened to Bo Diddley's songs as soon as I heard the news yesterday. It's such a blow to music to lose him.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP Mr Beat

Thanks for the tunes rev.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

R.I.P. Bo!

10:03 PM  
Anonymous music lover said...

Don't know what to say..
I hope he died with a satisfied mind.

1:51 AM  
Blogger bigrockcandymountain said...

Well said, good Reverend.

2:15 AM  
Blogger Scurvy said...

Sad tidings indeed. Not a lot of the originals left.

I loves that Down Home Special tho. That song just gets my bloods pumping.

2:42 AM  
Blogger jon said...

hey Rev,
Yeah, a really sad day. Another hero gone, Ike Turner and now Bo Diddley! Well, i put up my own tribute thing up at Mixed Messages if you want to check it out. At least he had a good long life and was recognised as the genius he was. Can't ask for much more than that I guess. R.I.P.
good that you are back on the Blog scene Rev. Spreading some sunshine.

9:06 PM  
Blogger jon said...

The Mixed messages Bo Diddley thing is at
sorry about that. . .

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Very lovely appreciation of Bo by ex-Jesus and Mary Chain member John Moore here -,,2283869,00.html
- it brought a tear to my eye on the bus to work.

12:49 AM  
Blogger themusicologist said...


sad news indeed. luckily I had the opportunity to see Bo live at a small venue in New Cross!!, (London) as a youngster in the early 80's. I'll always treasure the memory of me and my cousin being invited on stage by the man for a little 'boogie' after which he was kind enough to give us one of his plectrum's a piece.

also like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your support.


4:10 PM  
Blogger Ann O'Dyne said...

Howlin Wolf died right after Diddley Daddy.

The first Bo Diddley album I bought had a cover photo of him on a Vespa scooter!
I loved that album.
The father of my children was performing 'Hey Bo Diddley' when I first saw him (1964)

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and just like Bo Diddley these links are dead to, how fitting

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:54 AM  

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