Monday, June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley Will Not Fade Away

Rock Legend Bo Diddley died this morning of heart failure in Archer, Florida. He was 79. Bo suffered a stroke last spring and a heart attack last August, from which he never fully recovered.

Born Ellas Otha Bates McDaniel on December 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi, Bo Diddley holds the distinction of being the only musician in history to have a specific musical beat, or rhythmic pattern, named after him.

The "Bo Diddley beat" blends equal parts rock'n'roll rhythm and gospel shout in its "bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp" pattern, which became an enduring staple of popular music. His songs were among the earliest true Rock N Roll recordings.

Diddley was an early advocate of fuzzy, distorted guitar sounds. They perfectly complimented his frenetic songs, which played on a homemade square guitar while decked out in dark sunglasses and a black hat. Similarly, his rhythmic, boastful vocal style predated rap by several decades.

In his heyday in the '50s, Diddley recorded such seminal rock songs as "I'm a Man," "Who Do You Love?," "Mona," and "Road Runner," all of which have since become essential learning material for rock and blues bands, and have been covered by countless leading artists.

Buddy Holly borrowed Diddley's beat for his hit song "Not Fade Away," and the Rolling Stones' version of that song, with its unmistakable nod to Diddley, became the band's first major British hit single.

Source: Billboard

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