Monday, June 02, 2008

HEY!! Bo Diddley's dead at 79


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-It's a sad day, it most certainly is, but Mr. Bates lived a long life. Bo Diddley's influence over 50 years is virtually ubiquitous in rock and pop music. His introduction of very obviously Latin and African rhythms was revolutionary in the world of blues, rock n' roll, and pop.


Like all the greats, he influenced those who influenced thousands, like Buddy Holly, the Velvet Underground & Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, and even into R&B, reggae, punk, and post-punk. Of course, after that, rock died as a meaningful movement and genre, but the music lives on in the records to inspire future generations.

I loved listening to his Chess LPs as a kid during the 1980s, which wasn't too common for teenagers at that time. It was George Thorogood who resurrected Bo Diddley's career in the early-1980s with "Bad to the Bone," a great homage to the Diddley sound. He was often referred to as "the originator," though that title surely goes to Ike Turner for his "Rocket 88," acknowledged as the very first rock n' roll single.

He was born Otha Elias Bates (in his publishing, "Elias McDaniel") in 1928, another time and another world. Like most musicians, he was cheated out of a lot of money. But nobody will remember the "money people," unless it's because of their association with him.

The Bo Diddley" beat is universal, let it move you as it did the Rolling Stones, and everyone else under the sun. Rest in peace, and may the two-bar beat continue! Bo could play the drums as well as guitar, he was the best thing going for a long time (and his guitars were badass). He was the shit, a voodoo Houngan of the infinite beat.