- Uncle John
- Shave and a Haircut
- Can I walk you home?
- Bo Diddley is Crazy
- The Mule
- A Man Amongst Men” (a reggae turn)
- Diddley Daddy
- Say Man
- Road Runner
- You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover
- I’m A Man
- Cracking Up
- Ooh, Baby
- Diddey Wah Diddey
- Dearest Darling
- Road Runner
- Crackin Up
- Dancin Girl
- Rockin 80
- I’m Going Home
- I Don’t Know Where I’ve Been
- Dr. Jeckyll
- Can I Go Home
- Rhyme Song
- I’m A Man
- Let The Kids Dance
- Hey Bo Diddley
by Amanda Johnson (SHS)
Bo Diddley was born on December 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi, in Pike County. Bo Diddley’s legal name was Ellas McDaniel, but he was born Otha Ellas Bates. Bo was adopted by his mother’s cousin Gussie McDaniel and a man named Bates. When he was a child, Bo studied violin and taught himself how to play a guitar. When he was a young adult, Bo Diddley earned money performing odd jobs in construction and in boxing semi-pro. He also would spend much of his spare time playing music on the streets for extra money.
In his early performances (1945-1951) he was the lead singer in a Washboard Trio. He had married Ethel Mae Smith in 1946, and they had two children. They later got divorced , and he remarried a lady named Kay. There were two children from this marriage also.
Bo Diddley signed with the Chess/Checker Records in 1955 and remained with them until 1974. In 1955 he recorded his first hit song “‘I’m a Man, ” which made it to the number two spot on the charts. He got the stage name Bo Diddley from a one-stringed African guitar. One of the things that he said he hated most was that many record companies would use white artists to cover songs by black groups. The companies would do this “…in order for the music to have a so-called ‘wider appeal.'” This practice was common throughout the ’50s and ’60s, but Diddley did not like it. This is what Mr. Diddley had to say about the situation while in the hospital for a pulled muscle in his right leg: “I think this is very wrong. We have to get away from that in this country. This country is not about that. We have to quit looking at each other’s skin and give credit for what a man does. I’m not prejudiced against anybody. That’s not my bag. But I just don’t like the guys that handle my white brothers. They’re the ones that are hogging up the money. [They say] ‘We can’t make this much money with the brother, so let’s pick the pea pickers out here.’ They’ll promote them and pack the house. But they ain’t gonna spend that money on you. I’ve seen this and it hurts. It really hurts.”
Bo Diddley has been a well -respected artist and has even had performances for presidents. He played a concert for the President and Jackie Kennedy. He also played at t the Inaugural gala in Washington D. C. for President Bush, and he performed at the Democratic National Convention for Bill Clinton. Some of his other accomplishments include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987; having a star in the sidewalk on the Hollywood Hall of Fame in 1989; and receiving the Lifetime Achievement award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation at the Seventh Annual Pioneer Awards in 1996. Road Runner Liveby Diddley was released by Mastertone on February 26, 1999.
Bo Diddley has had a long lasting career that spans over five decades. His career began in the early forties and his personality and stage presence have made him a popular entertainer yet today. His popularity is world-wide. He is still performing concerts in places like Robinsonville, Mississippi, and Tokyo, Japan. Today he lives in Archer, Florida.
Biography of Bo Diddley
by Carl Wilson (SHS)
Bo Diddley is recognized as one of the first and most influential rock guitarist and musicians. He was born in Pike County, Mississippi, on December 20, 1928. His birth name was Otha Ellas Bates. In 1934 his mother sent him to live with his cousin, Guisse McDaniel in Chicago. Later Otha changed his name to Ellas McDaniel Diddley. At the age of ten he became very interested in music. He began studying the violin and guitar at Foster High School . Bo was very active as a teenager and even took boxing lessons. He played violin for the Ebenezer Baptist Church Orchestra. Diddley played songs on street corners with his friend Jerome Green, and Diddley worked construction for extra money.
By October, 1954, Bo had a group. He had bought himself an electric guitar, and Bo’s career had begun. He hooked up with Jerome Green t o record two of what became Diddley hits The two hits were put out on Checker and sky rocketed all the way to number two on national R and B charts. Bo Diddley also appeared on Ed Sullivan television shows. Bo’s first records showed him to be far ahead of his time in guitar playing. After he hooked up with Billy “Boy” Arnold and was released from Chess Records, Bo changed his entire playing method. Bo Diddley had a string of hits through the early 1960’s. After losing favor in the U.S., he became popular in England. Years later, his influence on the British rock scene continued as he was invited to perform with Clash.
Bo Diddley had many honors as a musician. In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Diddley’s success heralded the beginning of the rock ‘n roll craze. Not just blacks, but whites also found enjoyment in his music. Diddley was both a powerful singer and innovator who lived in Southern California for many years. .I’m an ordinary fellow,” he has said. “But I have to be different in what I do…Because that’s what keeps me in the music business.” Today, according to Cort Chilldon of Gainesville, Florida, Bo Diddley lives in Archer, Florida. He says, ” You [are] right about him being a normal guy. He is very down to earth and hates special treatment. I think that is why he live where he does.”
- 1928 — Born on December 30
- 1934 — Adopted by mother’s cousin
- 1946 — Married
- 1946-51 — led the Washboard Trio
- 1955-74 — Recorded for Checker/Chess labels
- 1955 — song ‘Bo Diddley’/’I’m A Man’ made it to number 2 on the charts
- 1986–Bo’s song “She’s Fine, She’s Mine” is featured in the Paul Newman/Tom Cruise film “The Color of Money”
- 1987 — Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and presented his award by ZZ Top who credits Bo with even teaching “us to put fur on our guitars!”
- 1989 — Performs at President Bush’s Inaugural gala in Washington, DC, appearing in the “Celebration for Young Americans: Tribute to Rhythm and Blues” with legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ron Wood, Joe Cocker, and Koko Taylor
- 1989 — Receives a star in the sidewalk on the Hollywood Hall of Fame
- 1990 — Performs in Brazil at the Blues Festival/Sao Paulo as well as on the Main stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, 1991 — Participates in the largest ticker-tape parade in history celebrating the return of U.S. troops from Operation Desert Storm
- 1992 — Appeared at the Democratic National Convention’s celebration for Bill Clinton in New York City
- 1994 — Endorses commercial for U.S. Health Care with radio promos to counties in Florida
- 1994 — Toured throughout California with Jerry Lee Lewis
Performs with J.J. Cale and Canned Heat at the Winthrop Blues festival in Winthrop, Washington.
- 1995 — Opens the new location of the Hard Rock Cafe, Orlando, Florida on Disney World grounds
- 1996 — Awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation at the Seventh Annual Pioneer Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
- 1996 — Released “A Man Amongst Men” on Code Blue/Atlantic Records. The album commemorates Bo’s 40 years in music.
- 1997–Bo Diddley tours Japan
- 1998 — Released “Live at the Ritz”
- 2008 — Bo Diddley passed away
- Bo Diddley Biography on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website
- Biography.com: Bo Diddley
- Rolling Stone Biography
- Brown, Ashley. ed. The Marshal Cavendish Illustrated History of Popular Music.New York: Marshal Cavendish. 1990. 5:590.
- Clark, David ed. The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Viking, 1989 341.
- Lablanc, Michael l. Ed. Contemporary Musicians. Detroit: Gales Research Inc. 1990. 3:61