Bo Diddley (12/30/1928 - 6/2/2008)
Blues and Rock 'N Roll pioneer Bo Diddley passed away today of heart failure at his home in Florida. He was 79. Bo had various health issues in the last year, which rendered him unable to perform live concerts.
Bo was born Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi on December 30, 1928. He moved to Chicago at age seven, and got his musical start playing blues on the Maxwell Street market. There are many stories about his stage name, one being that he used to play a homemade instrument called the Diddley Bow, and the other that he adapted a name of a comical character that he happened upon.
He lived to say the name served him well; and his early recordings for Chess were instant hits. Songs such as “Bo Diddley”, “Bring It To Jerome”, “I’m A Man”, “Diddy Wah Diddy”, “Diddley Daddy”, "Who Do You Love", "Mona", "Before You Accuse Me", and countless others presented a new sound that was steeped in blues, yet so danceable and rhythmic that it is considered the bedrock of early Rock ‘N Roll. The “Bo Diddley Beat”, taken from the "shave and a haircut" rhythm, was so popular and influential that numerous other hits by other artists adapted this beat.
He maintained public attention through high-profile appearances such as John Lennon’s Live Peace In Toronto concert, playing an acting role in the Dan Akroyd/Eddie Murphy hit Trading Places, a memorable pool hall scene in the music video of George Thorogood’s "Bad To The Bone" (based on a Bo Diddley guitar hook), and a Rock ‘N Roll star/basketball star comparison for Nike remembered fondly by the catch phrase “Bo Knows”.
He played a characteristic rectangular guitar which became his trademark. He was inducted in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. Bo remained active musically his whole life until stricken by a stroke in 2007. His passing today leaves an unfillable void, as he is one of the undisputed founders of Rock ‘N Roll.
For his complete biography, discography, and wonderful website, click here; to see a photo tribute page to Bo Diddley on Bob Corritore’s website, click here; and to read the Associated Press article regarding his passing, click here. Bob feels privileged to have known, performed with, and recorded with Bo Diddley. Bo was a great man whose music brought joy to multitudes of people. May this musical icon rest in peace.
From Bob Corritore's Blues Newsletter:
Note from the Diva:
Miss Patti and I were fortunate enough to have met and worked with Bo Diddley when he headlined the first "Blues on the Green Festival." In a line-up that included one of the biggest jerks I've ever worked with in the music world, Bo Diddley was an unassuming breath-of-fresh-air. He was the only one who came alone, without even a family member or a manager. He was kind, polite and quiet - quiet until he hit the stage. His was probably one of the biggest transformations between on and off-stage persona that I've ever seen. It's probably how he lasted so long.
The world will miss him terribly.
Friday, June 06, 2008
"Gear Junkies" is the free, premier weekly newsletter sent via email to the Alaska music community written and edited by the Goddess of the Alaska Music Scene, Patti Greene