Bo Diddley

Diddley, Bo, 1928–2008, African-American singer, guitarist, and songwriter who was one of the founders of rock and roll, b. near McComb, Miss., as Otha Ellas Bates. He and his cousin, Gussie McDaniel, who raised him and whose last name he adopted, moved to Chicago when he was five. He studied violin, received his first guitar in 1940, and acquired the nickname "Bo Diddley." Within a decade he was performing in South Side clubs, often playing the rectangular electric guitar he designed. Diddley became known for his pounding signature beat (bom ba-bom bom, bom bom; later an essential component of rock music) and for his guitar effects, jive talk, and strutting stage style. He reached a wider audience with the release (1955) of his first record, containing "Bo Diddley" and "I'm a Man." He had a number of other hits, but is perhaps most important for his powerful influence on generations of rockers, e.g., Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen.

See G. R. White, Bo Diddley: Living Legend (1998).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Bo Diddley from Fact Monster:

  • Bo Diddley - Biography of Bo Diddley, The early rock 'n' roll inventor nicknamed "The Originator"
  • Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll - Starring Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, Roy Orbison
  • Mississippi - Information on Mississippi — economy, government, culture, state map and flag, major cities, points of interest, famous residents, state motto, symbols, nicknames, and other trivia.
  • Black Musicians - The following list includes African-American singers, composers, rappers, pianists, and other musicians who have contributed to the world of music, including Count Basie, Akon, Natalie Cole, Missy Elliot, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and more.
  • Bob Dylan - Dylan, Bob Dylan, Bob , 1941–, American singer and composer, b. Duluth, Minn., as Robert ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies