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Bo Diddley A Legend Lost

Updated on September 21, 2008

May His Legend Live Forever

On June 2, 2008, we lost a music legend that changed the face of music forever. Bo Diddley passed away at his home in Archer, FL at the age of 79. He captured the hearts of music fans worldwide with his style of music that would mix country, R&B and Rock and Roll in a way never heard before. May his spirit remain in our hearts forever as a man who believed in all races living in harmony through their love of music.

The Early Years

Bo Diddley was born on December 30, 1928 in McComb, MS. Born as Otha Ellas Bates, he was raised by his mother's cousin, Gussie McDaniel and he later adopted her last name. The family moved to Chicago when Bo was seven years old.

The first instrument Diddley learned to play was the violin but was inspired to learn guitar by Lee Hooker's 1949 R&B hit Boogie Chillen. He formed a band called The Hipsters while still in high school and landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side in 1951.

A Star is Born

Although he began his career in boxing, Diddley teamed with Billy Boy Arnold in late 1954 and recorded demos of I'm a Man and Bo Diddley, which became a hit in 1955.

Among his list of hit songs were Diddley Daddy, Bo's a Lumberjack, Say Man and Pretty Thing, just to name a few. His Classic version of Who Do You Lovebecame a staple cover for a new generation of acts ranging from Quick Silver Messenger Service to The Doors, Tom Rush and Bob Seger. The UK's Juicy Lucy took the song into the UK Top 20.

Recap of Diddley's History

Below is a quick look into the history of Bo Diddley's singing career.

  • March 2, 1955 - Records his first single Bo Diddley / I'm a Man with Checkers records, which tops the charts for two weeks.
  • November 20, 1955 - Diddley makes his network t.v. debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.
  • January 1956 - Bo Diddley's Pretty Thing becomes a Top 40 hit. This song inspires a British Band to name themselves Pretty Thing.
  • October 5, 1959 - Diddley enters the Pop Top 40 with Say Man.
  • July 1964 - Two Great Guitars is released. It includes two lengthy guitar jams between legendary Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.
  • october 26, 1966 - Diddley releases the album The Originator, a reflection that he is a rock and Roll pioneer.
  • 1969 - The Super Blues Band is released on Checkers Records. It is a collaboration between Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter.
  • January 20, 1979 - Diddley begins his tour with Britain's rising punk-rock stars, The Clash as their handpicked opening act.
  • January 21, 1987 - Bo Diddley is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at their second annual induction dinner. His presenters are the members of ZZ Top.
  • November 25, 1987 - Bo Diddley and Ron Wood (a.k.a. The Gunslingers) finish a North American Tour with a show in New York. A recording of that performance is released as Live at the Ritz.
  • July, 1989 - Diddley appears in a popular Nike commercial in which he tells baseball great Bo Jackson, "Bo, you don't know Diddley".
  • February 29, 1996 - Bo Diddley receives the Lifetime Achivement Award at the seventh annual Rythum and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in Los Angeles.
  • April 1996 - Bo Diddley's first major-label album in many years, A Man Among Men, is released on Code Blue/Atlantic. Contributors were renowned rockers, including Keith Richard and Ron Wood.
  • June 2, 2008 - Bo Diddley dies of heart failure at his home in Archer, FL.

May He Rest in Peace

Even those who are unfortunate enough not to know Bo Diddley and his style of music, would certainly have to admire his lifetime achievements during a time when many would not dare to tread the waters that he and several others chose to tread at that time. His passion for music and harmonic living has inspired many musicians throughout the history of Rock and Roll, Rythum and Blues as well as Country.

As you will see in these videos below, Bo Diddley was well loved and respected throught America and other countries as well. There are many more videos on YouTube of his performances but I have chosen three that I hope brings out the best in his amazing history of music.

How sad it is to say farewell to a man who has touched so many and changed the course of music history. May he "jam" with the angels and may we always keep his music and visions alive in our hearts.

Roadrunner 1960

Hey Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley Rest in Peace

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    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States

      Yuval,

      The closest thing I can find to matching what you describe is the Super Blues Band with Bo diddley, Muddy Waters and Little Walter recorded January 4, 1967. This is avaliable on Amazon. Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Yuval from Israel 8 years ago

      How does one get a link to "Super Blues Band" by Chess Records, the LP which appeared prior to "The Super Super Blues Band" featuring Howlin' Wolf ?

      Anyone?

      - - - -

      The Super Super Blues Band

      Session 1:Recorded during January 1967, at Ter Mar Studios, ChicagoProduced By Ralph Bass

      You Don't Love Me (Ellas McDaniel) 4:05I'm A Man (Ellas McDaniel) 5:40Who Do You Love (Ellas McDaniel) 4:10I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon) 6:07

      - Muddy Waters - Vocal, Guitar;- Bo Diddley - Vocal, Guitar;- Little Walter - Vocal, Harmonica;- Otis Spann - Piano;- Buddy Guy - Guitar;- Sonny Wimberley - Guitar;- Frank Kirkland - Drums;- Cookie Vee - Backing Vocals, Tambourine.

      - - - - - - - -

      Session 2:Recorded during September 1967, at Ter Mar Studios, ChicagoProduced By Willie Dixon

      Long Distance Call (McKinley Morganfield) 9:17Ooh Baby - Somebody's Been Wrecking My Love Life (Clifton James, Ellas McDaniel) 6:36Sweet Little Angel (Robert McCollum) 6:41Spoonful (Willie Dixon) 4:15Diddley Daddy (Bo Diddley, Harvey Fuqua, Ellas McDaniel) 5:14The Red Rooster (Willie Dixon) 7:28Goin' Down Slow (James Burke Oden) 4:50

      - Muddy Waters - Vocal, Guitar;- Bo Diddley - Vocal, Guitar;- Howlin' Wolf - Vocal, Harmonica;- Otis Spann - Piano;- Hubert Sumlin - Guitar;- Buddy Guy - Bass;- Frank Kirkland - Drums;- Cookie Vee - Backing Vocals, Tambourine.

      - - - -

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      Oh, cool, ITD! I also love to play guitar (mostly just picking and teaching myself). I was raised playing piano but never had lessons. I had to learn to play by ear and often wished I would have taken lessons for piano and guitar. Of course, I could never match Bo in a million years! LOL

      Bonnie

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

      Bonnie,

      I played the guitar as a young girl, so I am always fascinated by them. The rectangle guitar is totally cool. Bo Diddley just makes you want to clap and jump around! lol

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      ITD,

      Thanks for dropping by and posting! I love Bo as well and his music paved the way for many wonderful musicians. And the guitar is awsome, isn't it???

      Bonnie

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 9 years ago from California

      Bonnie,

      Bo Diddley is such a rock and roll legend! Yeah! He is Hot! The videos were great, made me want to get up and dance! Loved the classic rectangle guitar... Great job, Bonnie!

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      CJ,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! It's always great to find other Diddley fans!

      Bonnie

    • CJStone profile image

      CJStone 9 years ago from Whitstable, UK

      Hooray for Bo Diddley: one of my all-time great heroes. Great to see the videos on here.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      cv,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and posting. It is really sad to lose such a legand.

      Bonnie

    • profile image

      cvaughn570 9 years ago

      Great hub on an amazing man.

      Thank you,

      Carol

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, Zil! I really appreciate your visits and nice comments!

      Bonnie

    • Zillian.Naire profile image

      Zillian.Naire 9 years ago from Texas

      Hi Bonnie, Thanks for the hub, it's great, would'nt expect anything less from a great hubber like you. I better get busy with mine.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile image
      Author

      Bonnie Ramsey 9 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Rodney! Even people who normally don't like his style of music still have to respect his talent. He was definitely awsome!

      Bonnie

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 9 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Great Hub, Thanks for sharing that with us all, even in South Africa, Bo Diddley was even heard of.