Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley

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.”

R.I.P.

cross-posted at Bring It On!

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7 Comments:

Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Amen. Heck, I'm still trying to get over the loss of Ray Charles.

June 2, 2008 at 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some other Bo Diddley Trivia:

That's him playing George Thorogood in pool in the "bad to the bone" video.

He would tell his audiences "I'm going to give you Bo Diddley-ites"

Johnny Otis sued him saying the song "Bo Diddley" copied "Willie and the Hand Jive" the court ruled the famous guitar progression is a beat rather then a song.

Diddley along with Chuck Berry and Little Richard refused to accept an award for being a founding father of Rock and Roll because the award was called an "Elvis"


Erik

June 2, 2008 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SW: Yup, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles, James Brown -- they're dropping like flies. Time sure passes. I remember when that newfangled rock and roll was "the Devil's music" and now it's over 50 years old.

Erik: An award called an "Elvis" was offered to Chuck Berry and Little Richard? LOL. I never heard about that. Then again, I remember reading in a jazz history book that when Benny Goodman hired a black musician to play in his band, the jazz establishment was "shocked." Uh, hellooo???

I didn't start listening to the radio until 1961, but I've heard most of those 1950s songs played as "oldies." I thought "Willie and the Hand Jive" was from 1959-60, 4 or 5 years after "Bo Diddley." Apparently not.

June 2, 2008 at 11:57 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Bo was one of the dudes who started the whole thing. The most extreme metal wouldn't exist without the lineage of people like him and Chuck Berry all the way back to Robert Johnson.

June 3, 2008 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Randal: Absolutely. The way I see it, the only American music forms that didn't come from African-Americans were country and bluegrass. So if it wasn't for Robert Johnson and Little Richard and Bo Diddley and all the rest, every radio station and car stereo in America would be blaring out songs about Grandma and beer and pickup trucks.

June 3, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Mistake:

Diddley sued Otis and not the other way around.

In the early 20th century researchers from the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian took recorders to the rural areas of the South and the Ozarks and recorded blacks playing bluegrass and country along with whites.

There was one time when blacks di play in the Grand Ole Orprey in the early days and there were some considered pioneers but of course their story has been "lost"

One Writer once said "without the African American influence in American Music We would have wound up like Canada and Celtic Music would be on the top 40"

Erik

June 3, 2008 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: OK, that makes more sense -- Bob Diddley suing Johnny Otis.

I didn't know that blacks ever played bluegrass and country, or played in the Grand Ol Opry. It figures that these records would be "lost."

There was a good movie a few years ago called Song Catcher. It took place in the early 1900s -- a woman from the Library of Congress traveled to this remote part of Appalachia. She brought a recording device with her so she could record the indigenous songs and styles.

June 3, 2008 at 7:28 PM  

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