Bo Diddley RIP
Bo Diddley passed away Monday at the age of 79.
Ellas Otha Bates didn't really invent the Bo Diddley beat, but he sure as hell brought it to a lot of ears and other more mobile parts of the body. And he stands tall among the early pioneers of rock and roll, with the Bo Diddley beat providing countless bands with inspiration. Unfortunately, for all that, he probably got his biggest payday from Nike and not Chess Records. And that's why it's hard to shed too many tears for the decline of the record business.
"Who Do You Love?" was probably the first Bo song I fell in love with, wearing out the "La Bamba" soundtrack cassette I had it on. But there are plenty other great ones he can claim credit for, including "I'm a Man," "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover," and, I just learned today, the Mickey and Sylvia hit (likely best remembered for its appearance in "Dirty Dancing") "Love Is Strange." I also learned that he was one of the first of the early rock and rollers to have women in his band, including rhythm guitarist Norma-Jean "The Duchess" Wofford, seen in the clip below. Pretty badass.
Yessir, Bo Diddley was a gunslinger. He'll be missed, but he leaves behind that beat.