Bo Diddley R.I.P.

  • Sad news to report today.....another rock 'n' roll originator is gone.......................

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.

    Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Fla., spokeswoman Susan Clary said. He had suffered a heart attack in August, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. Doctors said the stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

    The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

    Diddley appreciated the honors he received, "but it didn't put no figures in my checkbook."

    "If you ain't got no money, ain't nobody calls you honey," he quipped.

    The name Bo Diddley came from other youngsters when he was growing up in Chicago, he said in a 1999 interview.

    "I don't know where the kids got it, but the kids in grammar school gave me that name," he said, adding that he liked it so it became his stage name. Other times, he gave somewhat differing stories on where he got the name. Some experts believe a possible source for the name is a one-string instrument used in traditional blues music called a diddley bow.

    His first single, "Bo Diddley," introduced record buyers in 1955 to his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as "shave and a haircut, two bits." The B side, "I'm a Man," with its slightly humorous take on macho pride, also became a rock standard.

    The company that issued his early songs was Chess-Checkers records, the storied Chicago-based labels that also recorded Chuck Berry and other stars.

    Howard Kramer, assistant curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, said in 2006 that Diddley's Chess recordings "stand among the best singular recordings of the 20th century."

    Diddley's other major songs included, "Say Man," ''You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," ''Shave and a Haircut," ''Uncle John," ''Who Do You Love?" and "The Mule."

    Diddley's influence was felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Buddy Holly borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song "Not Fade Away."

    The Rolling Stones' bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964. The following year, another British band, the Yardbirds, had a Top 20 hit in the U.S. with their version of "I'm a Man."

    Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.

    "He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic," E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

    Many other artists, including the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello copied aspects of Diddley's style.

    Growing up, Diddley said he had no musical idols, and he wasn't entirely pleased that others drew on his innovations.

    "I don't like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it," he said. "I don't have any idols I copied after."

    "They copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up. It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there," he said.

    Despite his success, Diddley claimed he only received a small portion of the money he made during his career. Partly as a result, he continued to tour and record music until his stroke. Between tours, he made his home near Gainesville in north Florida.
    "Seventy ain't nothing but a damn number," he told The Associated Press in 1999. "I'm writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain't quit yet."

    Diddley, like other artists of his generations, was paid a flat fee for his recordings and said he received no royalty payments on record sales. He also said he was never paid for many of his performances.

    "I am owed. I've never got paid," he said. "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun."

    In the early 1950s, Diddley said, disc jockeys called his type of music, "Jungle Music." It was Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with inventing the term "rock 'n' roll."

    Diddley said Freed was talking about him, when he introduced him, saying, "Here is a man with an original sound, who is going to rock and roll you right out of your seat."

    Diddley won attention from a new generation in 1989 when he took part in the "Bo Knows" ad campaign for Nike, built around football and baseball star Bo Jackson. Commenting on Jackson's guitar skills, Diddley turned to the camera and said, "He don't know Diddley."

    "I never could figure out what it had to do with shoes, but it worked," Diddley said. "I got into a lot of new front rooms on the tube."

    Born as Ellas Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Miss., Diddley was later adopted by his mother's cousin and took on the name Ellis McDaniel, which his wife always called him.

    When he was 5, his family moved to Chicago, where he learned the violin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He learned guitar at 10 and entertained passers-by on street corners.

    By his early teens, Diddley was playing Chicago's Maxwell Street.

    "I came out of school and made something out of myself. I am known all over the globe, all over the world. There are guys who have done a lot of things that don't have the same impact that I had," he said.

    (Associated Press)


  • Another founding father gone....and another sad tale of how the money men ripped off an artist.

    You can chalk it up to a lot of things; no one ever thought this new music would last and it wasn't taken seriously; the musicians were happy to play and weren't enlightened to the business side of things...

    But for every artist like B.B. King who busted his butt for years for peanuts and then finally got decent management and made the big pay have dozens who were swindled out of their rightful income and have nothing to show for their work...while someone else raked in the dollars. It sucks. And it hasn't changed; all you have to do is watch a few episodes of "Behind The Music" and realize that lessons have gone unlearned. When you see Lisa Lopes of TLC looking into the camera and explaining how you can sell 9 million records and still be broke, well.....

    Bo Diddley didn't get to retire. He had to keep working to keep a roof over his head and dinner on the table. And he isn't alone.

    Yours In The Funk
    Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford


    "Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins

  • Great reading Chuck - a lot of stuff I didn't know until now :thumbup:

    'You thought that you could take me for granted, but I couldn't take it no more. Better run if you see me coming ... '

  • Not a good start to the week, for the world of rock.
    After reading this about Kelley, I dawned on me that I have an original Family Dog poster that Kelley/Mouse did, and that Bo Diddley was on the bill for this particular concert.

    The black and white photo is of Kelley (left) and Stanley "Mouse" Miller (right) from 1967.


    PETALUMA, Calif. (Associated Press) -- Alton Kelley, an artist who helped created the psychedelic style of posters and other art associated with the 1960s San Francisco rock scene, has died. He was 67.

    Kelley died Sunday of complications from osteoporosis in his Petaluma home, according to his publicist, Jennifer Gross.

    Kelley and his lifelong collaborator, Stanley "Mouse" Miller, churned out iconic work from their studio, a converted firehouse where Janis Joplin first rehearsed with Big Brother and the Holding Company.

    The pair created dozens of classic rock posters, including the famous Grateful Dead "skull and roses" poster designed for a show at the Avalon Ballroom, as well as posters and album covers for Journey, Steve Miller, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles.
    Kelley and Miller's work influenced other well-known names in the genre such as Rick Griffin, who moved to San Francisco in 1966 after seeing their psychedelic posters and soon started producing his own.

    For inspiration, the pair scrutinized old etchings and photos, took in the youth culture of the time and dug through public libraries, often breaking out into laughter until they were asked to leave by the librarian, Miller recalled.

    "We were just having fun making posters," Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle. "There was no time to think about what we were doing. It was a furious time, but I think most great art is created in a furious moment."

    In recent years, Kelley's artwork focused on paintings of hot rods and custom cars, which were sold as fine art and printed on T-shirts.

    He is survived by his wife Marguerite Trousdale Kelley; their children Patty, Yosarian and China; his mother, his sister and two grandchildren.

Join in now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!