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» Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley
Born: December 30, 1928 in McComb, Mi
Died: June 2, 2008 in Archer, Fl
Active: '40s-2000s Major
Styles: Rock & Roll, Early R&B
Instrument: Guitar Representative
Albums: "The Chess Box", "Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley", "His Best" Representative
Songs: "Bo Diddley", "I'm a Man", "Mona"

UPC Type Title
030206189025 CD Absolutely the Best Live
4988005532367 (i) CD And Company
4988005488435 (i) CD Another Dimension (Mini LP Sleeve)
4988005792365 (i) CD Big Bad Bo
805772916722 (i) CD Big Box of Chuck Berry N Bo Diddley
826853060028 CD Black Gladiator
4988005792358 (i) CD Black Gladiator
602527609508 CD Bo Diddley's Beach Party
602498614471 CD Bo Diddley Is a Guns
8436542012836 (i) CD Bo Diddley & Company + Bo Diddley's a Twister
8436542014878 (i) CD Bo Diddley
4988005792334 (i) CD Bo Diddley
5050457125929 (i) CD Bo Diddley
5050457113322 (i) CD Bo Diddley Is a Lover
8436028691753 (i) CD Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
5050457131920 (i) CD Bo Diddley's a Twister
029667139625 (i) CD Bo's Blues
693723978321 CD Bo's the Man
602517240834 CD Definitive Collection
5014797671805 (i) CD Diddley Daddy-the Collection
612657019627 CD Drive by-Tales From the Funk Dimension
731454434829 (i) CD Essential Collection
8436542011211 (i) Vinyl Go Bo Diddley
602517810594 CD Gold
5413992502547 CD Have Guitar Will Tour
4988005792341 (i) CD Have Guitar Will Travel
8436028698448 (i) CD Have Guitar Will Travel/in the Spotlight
4988005532336 (i) CD Have Guitar with Travel D
8436542011945 (i) Vinyl Have Guitar Will Travel
752211102324 CD Hey Bo Didley in Concert
5017261202871 (i) CD Hey! Bo Diddley/Bo Diddley
076732937327 (i) CD His Best
4988005767295 (i) CD His Best
741157883718 Vinyl I'm a Man-Live '84
604988301021 (i) CD I'm a Man: Singles 1955-59
889397101732 (i) Vinyl In the Spotlight
4988005532343 (i) CD Is a Gunslinger
8436542010603 (i) CD Is a Gunslinger/Is a Lover
4988005532350 (i) CD Is a Lover
8436006676031 CD Is a Session Man-Stud
8436006676017 Vinyl Is a...Sessionman-Studio Work 1955-57
725543351715 Vinyl Live 1984
5413992502769 (i) CD Live in Eighty-Five
008811216320 CD Millennium Collection-20th Century Masters
5017261204240 (i) CD Rides Again/in the Spotlight
602517663800 CD Road Runner: Chess Masters 1959-60
090204894512 CD Rock 'N' Roll All Star Jam
090204894505 DVD Rock 'N' Roll All Star Jam
600753051672 (i) CD Rock N' Roll Legends
698458757326 (i) CD Rock N Roll's Master Blaster
5055011702950 (i) CD Rock N Roll Allstar Jam 1985
823195001337 (i) DVD Rock N Roll All Star Jam
5036408129826 (i) CD Six Classic Albums
602498322963 (i) CD Story of Bo Diddley: Very Best of Bo Diddley
664425406122 CD Super Blues
3596971355227 CD Turn Up the House Lights-Live in France 1989
5017261203342 (i) CD Two Great Guitars/Super Super Blues Band
778325223229 CD Ultimate Doubles
008811224424 (i) CD Universal Masters Collection
4988005488428 (i) CD Where It All Began (Mini LP Sleeve)
636551982924 CD Who Do You Love
5055544205034 (i) CD You Don't Know Diddley

Biography: He only had a few hits in the 1950s and early '60s, but as Bo Diddley sang, "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover." You can't judge an artist by his chart success, either, and Diddley produced greater and more influential music than all but a handful of the best early rockers. The Bo Diddley beat -- bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp -- is one of rock & roll's bedrock rhythms, showing up in the work of Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, and even pop-garage knock-offs like the Strangeloves' 1965 hit "I Want Candy." Diddley's hypnotic rhythmic attack and declamatory, boasting vocals stretched back as far as Africa for their roots, and looked as far into the future as rap. His trademark otherworldly vibrating, fuzzy guitar style did much to expand the instrument's power and range. But even more important, Bo's bounce was fun and irresistibly rocking, with a wisecracking, jiving tone that epitomized rock & roll at its most humorously outlandish and freewheeling.

Before taking up blues and R&B, Diddley had studied classical violin, but shifted gears after hearing John Lee Hooker. In the early '50s, he began playing with his longtime partner, maraca player Jerome Green, to get what Bo's called "that freight train sound." Billy Boy Arnold, a fine blues harmonica player and singer in his own right, was also playing with Diddley when the guitarist got a deal with Chess in the mid-'50s (after being turned down by rival Chicago label Vee-Jay). His very first single, "Bo Diddley"/"I'm a Man" (1955), was a double-sided monster. The A-side was soaked with futuristic waves of tremolo guitar, set to an ageless nursery rhyme; the flip was a bump-and-grind, harmonica-driven shuffle, based around a devastating blues riff. But the result was not exactly blues, or even straight R&B, but a new kind of guitar-based rock & roll, soaked in the blues and R&B, but owing allegiance to neither.

Diddley was never a top seller on the order of his Chess rival Chuck Berry, but over the next half-dozen or so years, he produced a catalog of classics that rival Berry's in quality. "You Don't Love Me," "Diddley Daddy," "Pretty Thing," "Diddy Wah Diddy," "Who Do You Love?," "Mona," "Road Runner," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" -- all are stone-cold standards of early, riff-driven rock & roll at its funkiest. Oddly enough, his only Top 20 pop hit was an atypical, absurd back-and-forth rap between him and Jerome Green, "Say Man," that came about almost by accident as the pair were fooling around in the studio.

As a live performer, Diddley was galvanizing, using his trademark square guitars and distorted amplification to produce new sounds that anticipated the innovations of '60s guitarists like Jimi Hendrix. In Great Britain, he was revered as a giant on the order of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. The Rolling Stones in particular borrowed a lot from Bo's rhythms and attitude in their early days, although they only officially covered a couple of his tunes, "Mona" and "I'm Alright." Other British R&B groups like the Yardbirds, Animals, and Pretty Things also covered Diddley standards in their early days. Buddy Holly covered "Bo Diddley" and used a modified Bo Diddley beat on "Not Fade Away"; when the Stones gave the song the full-on Bo treatment (complete with shaking maracas), the result was their first big British hit.

The British Invasion helped increase the public's awareness of Diddley's importance, and ever since then he's been a popular live act. Sadly, though, his career as a recording artist -- in commercial and artistic terms -- was over by the time the Beatles and Stones hit America. He would record with ongoing and declining frequency, but after 1963, he never wrote or recorded original material on par with his early classics. Whether he'd spent his muse, or just felt he could coast on his laurels, is hard to say. But he remains a vital part of the collective rock & roll consciousness, and occasionally reached wider visibility via a 1979 tour with the Clash, a cameo role in the film Trading Places, a late-'80s tour with Ronnie Wood, and a 1989 television commercial for sports shoes with star athlete Bo Jackson. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi