Bo Diddley Dies At 79
Mon, 02 Jun 2008 14:06:26
Rock 'n' roll demigod Bo Diddley died of heart failure on today in Jacksonville, FL. He was 79 and had been suffering from persistent health problems since last summer, when he had suffered a heart attack and a stroke within three months of one another.
"One of the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll has left the building he helped construct," read a statement from Diddley's reps.
Diddley is best known for the "Diddley beat," a.ka. "shave and a haircut, two bits." According to an extensive Wikipedia entry on the subject, it can be heard in everything from the Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?" to the Stooges' "1969." Diddley once revealed on the public radio show American Routes that "I was trying to play 'I Got Spurs That Jingle Jangle Jingle' by Gene Autrey, and stumbled upon that beat."
While Diddley is certainly known for his trademark rhythm, he only achieved one Top 40 hit: 1959's "Say Man," although "You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover," "Uncle John" and "The Mule" are also among his other well-known songs. As a result of Diddley's rough sales record, he sold the rights to his songs to pay bills and often lashed out at other artists for profiting from his sound. "I don't like to copy anybody," he once said. "Everybody tries to do what I do, update it; I don't have any idols I copied after … It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff