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Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley - Another Giant Leaves Us

The news hit a couple of hours ago - Bo Diddley (aka Ellis McDaniel, aka Ellas Bates) has passed at the age of 79. I have been a huge fan of this gentleman - first tripped out on him about 36 years ago. His impact on contemporary music was massive. Some of his hits will live forever in the world of American pop music -- "I'm a Man," "Who do You Love?","You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover" and "I Can Tell." I have swiped a few of his licks and his fabulous "Bo Diddley" rhythm for one of the songs I wrote. The bass player in my band, E.G. McDaniel, is Bo's cousin. This caused me to feel connected to Bo Diddley (yeah, I know that is a stretch...). Bo had the cool square guitar, the freaky tremolo tone, the aggressive vocals...and I always loved the maracas in his tunes - awesome touch. Jerome Green shook the maracas for Bo (there is another unsung hero of blues and rock - Jerome Green). Bo was not a guy doing the Same Old Blues Shit.

I knew Bo was sick - heard about the stroke he had in Iowa. I had heard that his rehab was going well, but I guess his heart just gave out. He had diabetes for many years.

Bo was a giant; hugely inventive. His sound was instantly recognizable and broke new ground. Countless rock and blues artists covered him or imitated him. And he didn't make anywhere near the money that he deserved...

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