BoDiddley1997 Photo Masahiro Sumori22

Bo Diddley between Blues and Rock ‘n Roll

Bo Diddley between Blues and Rock ‘n Roll

Othas Ellas Bates or better known as Bo Diddley was born in McComb, Mississippi in 1928. Some may know him for his unique beat from the song “Bo Diddley”, Some know him for his rectangular guitar. Other may know him as the man that shaped Rock ‘n Roll. Inspired by the Chicago Blues and Rock ‘n Roll, singing in the style of gospel with an African-Cuban rhythm style. We all know Bo Diddley.

Bo Diddley Guitar music

BoDiddley1997 Photo Masahiro Sumori
BoDiddley1997 Photo Masahiro Sumori

Diddley grew up on the south side of Chicago where he played music in the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Bo started playing violin in the Baptist church. When Bo turned twelve he started playing guitar inspired by musicians as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Diddley would become a Blues and Rock ‘n Roll legends as a guitarist and a singer. One of the few that collaborated with musicians in many differtent genres.

Nickname: Bo Diddley

To turn his music into money The Gretsch-guitarist played in the streets of Chicago together with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold. Diddley was in those days also a semi-pro boxer, during those years he adopted his nickname Bo Diddley. The origins of the nickname is uncertain but one theory is that it decends from the Diddley-bow, a one string instrument originally from the Westcoast of Africa but mostly played in the south of the USA.

Bo Diddley One Beat Wonder

Diddley would become famous as a one-beat wonder since 1955 when “I’m a Man”was released at Chess records. Since then everybody could recognise Diddley music by the driving rhythms, as well as his unique rectangular Gretsch guitar. The Diddley beat is more than famous Songs as “Bo Diddley”, and used by musicians like Guns ‘n Roses, The Smiths and the Stooges. (Encyclopaedia of Mississippi). 

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