If you’re younger than a certain age — late 40s maybe — “Bo Diddley” might be just three meaningless syllables. But he was one of rock and roll’s founders and unsung heroes.
He died today at his home in Florida. He was 79.
You may have never heard of him, but if you’ve listened to anything under the “Rock” category over the past 40 years — you’ve heard his influence.
He was one of the earliest black rock-and-rollers (along with Chuck Berry and Little Richard) whose music crossed over to “mainstream” (i.e. white) audiences.
His biggest hits include “Bo Diddley,” “Who Do You Love,” (covered by Ronnie Hawkins, the Doors and Quicksilver Messenger Service), “Before You Accuse Me” (covered by Credence Clearwater Revival) and “I’m a Man” (covered by the Yardbirds and a jillion other performers).
His real name was Elias McDaniel. Bo Diddley was a childhood nickname which became his stage name as well as the title of his first hit record.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.
He considered himself the father of rock and roll. In 2007 he told an interviewer: “Little Richard came two or three years later, along with Elvis Presley. In other words, I was the first dude out there.”
cross-posted at Bring It On!