Bo Diddley A Legend Lost
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.