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Old 06-02-2008, 12:42 PM   #1
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RIP...Bo Diddley

Guitarist Bo Diddley dead at 79

(CNN) -- Bo Diddley, the musical pioneer whose songs, such as "Who Do You Love?" and "Bo Diddley," melded rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll through a distinctive thumping beat, has died. He was 79.

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley influenced generations of guitarists.

Diddley died Monday, surrounded by family and loved ones at his home in Archer, Florida, a family spokeswoman said.

The cause was heart failure, his family said.

The world-renowned guitarist's signature beat -- usually played on an equally distinctive rectangular-bodied guitar -- laid the foundation for rock 'n' roll, and became so identified with him that it became known as the "Bo Diddley" beat. It was unlike anything else heard in pop music. Share your memories of the bluesman

"This distinctive, African-based 5/4 rhythm pattern (which goes bomp-bomp-bomp bomp-bomp) was picked up by other artists and has been a distinctive and recurring element in rock 'n' roll through the decades," according to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Guitarist George Thorogood, a Diddley disciple, put it more bluntly.

"[Chuck Berry's] 'Maybellene' is a country song sped up," Thorogood told Rolling Stone in 2005. " 'Johnny B. Goode' is blues sped up. But you listen to 'Bo Diddley,' and you say, 'What in the Jesus is that?' "

Among the artists who made use of the Bo Diddley beat were Buddy Holly ("Not Fade Away," later covered by the Rolling Stones), Johnny Otis ("Willie and the Hand Jive"), the Yardbirds (covering Diddley's "I'm a Man" and adding their own guitar stylings to the closing bars, which were later incorporated into the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction"), the Strangeloves ("I Want Candy"), Bruce Springsteen ("She's the One"), U2 ("Desire") and George Michael ("Faith"). Hundreds of artists have covered Diddley songs.

His debut single was his self-titled 1955 classic, with "I'm a Man" as its B-side. The songs were released on Chicago's Chess-Checker Records label, also the home of Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon.

"It was the first in a string of groundbreaking sides that walked the fine line between rhythm & blues and rock 'n' roll," his Hall of Fame biography says.

Diddley, a contemporary of Berry, Fats Domino and Elvis Presley, cut a stylish figure on the rock 'n' roll landscape. With his guitar, dark glasses and black hat, he looked vaguely menacing; his music was much earthier and bluesier than that of his rock 'n' roll contemporaries.

However, Diddley wasn't above climbing on bandwagons in search of wider popularity; his early 1960s albums included such titles as "Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger," "Bo Diddley's a Twister," "Bo Diddley's Beach Party" and "Surfin' with Bo Diddley."

Eventually, Diddley returned to his roots and became a rock 'n' roll elder statesman. He was featured in the Thorogood video "Bad to the Bone," playing pool with Thorogood, and showed up during the Nike "Bo Knows" campaign starring Bo Jackson.

At the conclusion of a Nike commercial that showed Jackson excelling at a variety of sports, the athlete picked up a guitar and produced a squall of noise. Cut to Diddley, listening to the attempt: "Bo, you don't know Diddley," he said.

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

Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates in McComb, Mississippi, later taking the name McDaniel after being adopted by his mother's cousin. Diddley's family moved to Chicago when he was 7, according to his Hall of Fame biography.

He played violin as a child, but said he was inspired to pick up the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker's 1949 rhythm and blues hit, "Boogie Chillen."

He told many stories of how he got the name "Bo Diddley." In a 1999 interview, he said it came from his childhood friends, according to AP. Other tales included a one-string instrument from traditional blues called a diddley bow, the AP notes.

Either way, it became his own -- as did his music.

"I don't like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it," he told the AP. "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.

He continued to tour well into 2007, but suffered a stroke last May and a heart attack in August.

He was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in January 1987.

Though he was upset that he never received the financial rewards he expected -- "I am owed," he told the AP, adding "a dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun" -- he reflected modestly on the rock 'n' roll revolution he helped start.

"Well, it's no different from anything else, I guess. I started sumthin'. I just happened to be the first one," he told the British magazine Uncut in 2005. "But I never thought it would turn into what it did. Somebody had to be first, and it happened to be me."

What a amazing guitarist he was... Sorry that he left us...

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Old 06-02-2008, 02:44 PM   #2
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by U2Fanatic4ever View Post
What a amazing guitarist he was...
How much have you actually heard of his stuff? I don't think I know a single song! Maybe if I heard it on the radio, I'd know.

Anyway, may his soul rest in peace. :Pray:
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:14 PM   #4
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And the great band up in the sky has become even better. What a gig they probably are playing now...
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Bo was as big an influence on the r 'n r revolution as Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John lee Hooker, BB King, etc. His playing style is present in loads of American and English blues rockers, something he (and others) never felt was given enough credit. It was true. Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran through West Coast surfer music (Dick Dale), the Stones, Zep, all owed Bo and the others much more than a nod. These guys were so forgotten by the late 60's and early 70's that their songs were incorporated into many well known tunes without even a shred of credit (Led Zeppelin probably the most well known lifter). Of course, this was eventually rectified. But grudgingly at best.

I actually saw the big man in the early 70's at a place called Japanese Deer Park in the shadow of Disneyland. What this place was, I don't remember, but they had a small amphitheater where I and very few others showed up to see him perform. I think he was already in ill health even then, but didn't let anyone there down.

I'm glad he lived long enough to see some of the credit due come his way.

Here's a short clip just to give an idea of his unique style

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Old 06-02-2008, 06:39 PM   #7
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Sad news, RIP Bo Diddley
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:56 PM   #8
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OH man, I heard on the radio that somebody died, but I wasn't expecting this RIP
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:07 AM   #9
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R.I.P. to a legend

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Old 06-03-2008, 07:35 AM   #10
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Bo Diddley RIP

Rock pioneer Bo Diddley dies at age 79
June 2, 2008, 12:32 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- 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.

May he rest in a soulful place in heaven.

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