Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bo Diddley Dies June 2nd

Bo Diddley (December 301928 – June 22008) was an American rock and roll singer,songwriter, and guitarist. Often cited as a key figure in the transition from blues to rock and roll, he introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound. He was also known for his characteristic rectangular guitar.

Born in McCombMississippi as Ellas Otha Bates,[1] he was adopted and raised by his mother's cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he assumed, becoming Ellas McDaniel. The family moved to Chicago when he was seven.[2] He took violin lessons as a youth, but was inspired to become a guitarist after seeing John Lee Hooker.

He worked as a carpenter and mechanic, but also began a musical career playing on street corners with friends, including Jerome Green[3] (c. 1934–1973), as a band called the Hipsters (later the Langley Avenue Jive Cats). In 1951, he landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side, with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, andMuddy Waters. He adopted the stage name, Bo Diddley, which is probably a southern blackslang phrase meaning "nothing at all", as in "he ain't bo diddley". Another source says it was his nickname as a teenage Golden Gloves boxer. The nickname is also linked to the diddley bow, a two-stringed instrument that was used in the south by black musicians working in the fields.

In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnolddrummer Clifton James and bass player Roosevelt Jackson, and recordeddemos of "I'm A Man" and "Bo Diddley". They re-recorded the songs at Chess Studios with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann(piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums) and Jerome Green (maracas). The record was released in March 1955, and theA-side, "Bo Diddley", became a #1 R&B hit.