Bo Diddley was born "Ellas Bates" on December 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi. At only 8 months of age, he went to live with his mother's cousin Gussie McDaniel, who served as his "mother" from that time forward. The family moved to Chicago when Ellas was 6 or 7 years old. There he was exposed to "the blues," and the rest is history.
Sometimes referred to as "The Originator," Bo Diddley is certainly in a class by himself. Disc jockeys didn't know quite what to make of him when he burst upon the scene in 1955, with his signature tune and infectious "shave-and-a-haircut" beat. His influence on other performers is incalculable and seldom ever fully acknowledged. Someone (*ahem*) really ought to find time to develop a comprehensive web page worthy of this giant among the founders of what came to be known as "Rock and Roll."
Fortunately, Bo Diddley's career is well documented elsewhere and he is very much alive and well, still performing on a regular basis. You can keep track of his scheduled performances at the Pollstar web site.
The picture at left shows Bo Diddley performing on stage in 1968, still looking pretty much as he did in the wonderful rhythm and blues revues of the fabulous 50s.
Your humble scribe first saw the gentleman at Lou Krefetz's "Top Ten Review of 1955." I have had the pleasure of seeing him a number of other times since then.
My most recent sighting occurred during the week of December 12, 1998, as Mr. D. was among the performers who appeared on Norwegian Cruise Lines' annual "Blues Cruise." The picture below left shows Bo holding forth as part of the Meet the Stars panel. At right, we see him on stage with his most recent custom-built square guitar.
For additional information regarding the life and times of Bo Diddley, I commend to you the 1995 book "Bo Diddley Living Legend" by George R. White, published by Castle Communications in England.
Recordings by Bo Diddley are not easy to find, but the Internet's leading music shop usually has them. Clicking on the CD NOW image will take you directly to a list of available Bo Diddley recordings. And if you buy something, there is a small rebate to yours truly that will help defray the expense of maintaining this site.
Go back to the Rhythm & Blues Revue page.