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Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley performing on-stage
Background information
Birth name Ellas Bates
Also known as Ellas B. McDaniel
Bo Diddley
The Originator
Born (1928-12-30)December 30, 1928
Pike County, Mississippi
Origin McComb, Mississippi
Died June 2, 2008(2008-06-02) (aged 79)
Archer, Florida
Genres Rock and roll, blues
Occupation(s) Singer, guitarist, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1951 – 2008
Labels Chess Records
Checker Records

Bo Diddley (born Ellas Bates, December 30, 1928 in McComb, Mississippi, died June 2, 2008 in Archer, Florida) was an American singer, guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the original rock and roll musicians; he, along with others, created rock music.

In 1955, he recorded and released his first songs. He is most famous for the rhythm which he has made popular in many of his recordings. The rhythm has become known as the Bo Diddley beat. Some of the most popular songs which feature the Bo Diddley beat include "Not Fade Away" and "I Want Candy", George Michael's song "Faith" and U2's song "Desire". Bo Diddley is also famous for the unusual shapes of many of his guitars, for his exciting stage shows and for his use of female musicians.

Bo Diddley made many appearances on radio, television and in the movies. In 1956, he co-wrote the popular song "Love Is Strange" for the singing duo Mickey and Sylvia.

Some of his most popular songs are: "I'm A Man" (1955), "Pretty Thing" (1955), "Bring It To Jerome" (1955), "Diddy Wah Diddy" (1955), "Who Do You Love" (1956), "Mona (I Need You Baby)" (1957), "Before You Accuse Me" (1957), "Crackin' Up" (1959), "Say Man" (1959), "Say Man, Back Again" (1959), "Road Runner" (1960), "Pills" (1961), "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover" (1962) and "I Can Tell" (1962).

Bo Diddley often sang simple or amusing songs about himself. Some of these songs are "Bo Diddley" (1955), "Diddley Daddy" (1955), "Hey Bo Diddley" (1957), "Bo Meets The Monster" (1958), "Bo Diddley's A Gunslinger" (1960), "Just Like Bo Diddley" (1989), "Bo Diddley Is Crazy" (1996) and "Oops! Bo Diddley" (1996).

His songs have been recorded by many other popular recording artists, including Aerosmith, The Animals, Eric Clapton, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dr. Feelgood, The Doors, Buddy Holly, Chris Isaak, New York Dolls, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, George Thorogood and The Destroyers, The Who and The Yardbirds.

In 2003, U.S. Representative John Conyers paid tribute to Bo Diddley in the United States House of Representatives when he described him as "one of the true pioneers of rock and roll, who has influenced generations".

In 2005, Bo Diddley celebrated his 50th anniversary in music with successful tours of Australia and Europe and with coast-to-coast shows across North America.

On June 2, 2008, Diddley died from heart failure at the age of 79.


  • Bo Diddley (1958)
  • Go Bo Diddley (1959)
  • Have Guitar Will Travel (1960)
  • Bo Diddley in the Spotlight (1960)
  • Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger (1960)
  • Bo Diddley Is a Lover (1961)
  • Bo Diddley's a Twister (1962)
  • Bo Diddley (1962)
  • Bo Diddley & Company (1962)
  • Surfin' with Bo Diddley (1963)
  • Bo Diddley's Beach Party (1963)
  • Bo Diddley's 16 All-Time Greatest Hits (1964)
  • Two Great Guitars (with Chuck Berry) (1964)
  • Hey Good Lookin' (1965)
  • 500% More Man (1965)
  • The Originator (1966)
  • Super Blues (with Muddy Waters & Little Walter) (1967)
  • Super Super Blues Band (with Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf) (1967)
  • The Black Gladiator (1970)
  • Another Dimension (1971)
  • Where It All Began (1972)
  • Got My Own Bag of Tricks (1972)
  • The London Bo Diddley Sessions (1973)
  • Big Bad Bo (1974)
  • 20th Anniversary of Rock & Roll (1976)
  • I'm a Man (1977)
  • Ain't It Good To Be Free (1983)
  • Bo Diddley & Co - Live (1985)
  • Hey...Bo Diddley in Concert (1986)
  • Breakin' Through the BS (1989)
  • Living Legend (1989)
  • Rare & Well Done (1991)
  • Live at the Ritz (with Ronnie Wood) (1992)
  • This Should Not Be (1993)
  • Promises (1994)
  • A Man Amongst Men (1996)
  • Moochas Gracias (with Anna Moo) (2002)

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