Category Archives: Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley was a fantastic musician. It pains me to write this now, because I was introduced to Bo by my dad when I was a wee lass. I can honestly say I have listened to this man play my entire life…because I am sure my dad played his 45’s when I was in the womb. A wonderful showman who played a crazy-looking guitar…thats Bo.
God I love his music..he spanned the divide between blues and rock as no other has. I hope he is up in heaven with the greats that passed before him..jamming his ass off on that crazy looking square guitar. We are worse off today than yesterday…Bo has left us, but his music will live on thank fucking God.
Some history on the great man:
Born in McComb, Mississippi as Ellas Otha Bates, he was adopted and raised by his mother’s cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he assumed, becoming Ellas McDaniel. The family moved to Chicago when he was seven.
Ah yes, the Chicago blues sound…I know it well. But I digress..back to Bo.
He took violin lessons as a youth, but was inspired to become a guitarist after seeing John Lee Hooker
He worked as a carpenter and mechanic, but also began a musical career playing on street corners with friends, including Jerome Green (c. 1934–1973), as a band called the Hipsters (later the Langley Avenue Jive Cats). In 1951, he landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago’s South Side, with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters. He adopted the stage name, Bo Diddley, which is probably a southern black slang phrase meaning “nothing at all,” as in “he ain’t bo diddley.” Another source says it was his nickname as a teenage Golden Gloves boxer. The nickname is also linked to the diddley bow, a two-stringed instrument that was used in the south by black musicians working in the fields
In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, drummer Clifton James and bass player Roosevelt Jackson, and recorded demos of “I’m A Man” and “Bo Diddley”. They re-recorded the songs at Chess Studios with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann (piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums) and Jerome Green (maracas). The record was released in March 1955, and the A-side, “Bo Diddley”, became a #1 R&B hit
Bo was inducted into the Rock n Roll HOF in 1987. Chess Records…those guys had most of the best musicians on the planet record for them…and their gone too. sigh..