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February 6, 2014 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Bo Diddley 1955. Bo Diddley 1965. That's all!
posted by flapjax at midnite (34 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
What the hell, here's the Wikipedia page.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:34 AM on February 6


Flap, you know Diddley.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:40 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Bo knows.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:43 AM on February 6


I've always felt this this song is the rock and roll equivalent of the primordial ooze, Rosetta stone, Lucy the hominid, D.W. Griffith, howling chaos of nothing from which the universe was born. I'm sure there's earlier songs that make the claim, but to me this song just lays out the basic grammar of every rock and roll song that came after.

Here is my favorite comment about Bo Diddley on Metafilter.
posted by marxchivist at 6:49 AM on February 6 [12 favorites]


Never mind Bo Diddley, just how awesome is Jerome Green (on the maracas) in the first video? Bo Diddley is great, he's my favorite guitarist, but Bo + Jerome is something transcendent. It's a sound that's never been matched in the following 60 years.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:54 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Bo Diddley 1968 and Bo Diddley 1973 also demand your attention.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:56 AM on February 6


Yeah, why the hell is there a giant werewolf in Rampage?

And I wonder which monster Bo Diddley played.
posted by Naberius at 7:06 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Bo Diddley did not approve of the Clash's live setup.
posted by COBRA! at 7:21 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


OP - "that is all"

Well what the hell else do you need? Food, water, air, and this.

Also, Bo might not have liked the Clash set up, but in the second clip, he's standing on a wall of Fender cabinets that must be rivalling that Clash set-up.

In the first clip, he probably bust out a 20 watt amp with the tremolo set to 11, creamy perfection.
posted by C.A.S. at 8:04 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


One of my good memories of my Dad is him singing this song to us. And we'd always use "Bo Diddley" whenever a Mad Lib called for a proper name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:09 AM on February 6


It's the Bo Diddley beat. often appropriated rarely attributed.

who's the lady in the second vid with the guitar?
posted by edgeways at 8:12 AM on February 6


That's Lady Bo.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:13 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


nice
posted by edgeways at 8:15 AM on February 6


My father - who turned 70 in November - remembers playing air guitar at age 15 to Bo Diddley songs in his bedroom. His best friends opened a blues club in our hometown and Dad was there when they had Bo play and got to meet him and pretty much made his life.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:42 AM on February 6


I was a roadie for 42 years for the Sons of Champlin (1968-2010). One of my best stories from the road concerned Mr. Diddly, with whom we performed twice.

The show was in El Paso around 1976. Bo was the headliner, so when he took the stage, my evening was nearly over. The gear was packed up, and as soon as the show ended I could load the truck and leave.

While Mr. Diddly was performing, an attractive young woman somehow got up on stage and approached Bo. He used the occasion to ham it up a bit, playing directly at her and making her part of the performance. For a minute or so. Then he gave the high sign for his own crew to usher her off the stage.

She wasn't having any of that. The big roadies could easily have taken her off the stage if they wanted to punch her lights out, but you don't want to do that in front of the crowd. They tried to handle her gently, but she didn't care if she hurt them, so it was a bit once-sided. She kicked and clawed and bit everything she could reach.

I joined the fight, and eventually it took five guys, all bigger than her, to get her off the stage. It was the biggest fight I ever got into as a roadie.
posted by Repack Rider at 8:43 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Oh god I just remembered a story from the blues club about Bo!

For a while the owner had a little white dog named Radar that they'd let walk around inside, and apparently when Bo was doing sound check Radar was hanging around and Bo really took a shine to the little guy - so much so that he sent an emissary to the pet shop in the mall nearby the club to check if they had a dog of Radar's breed for sale. I don't know if they did there, but eventually Bo got a Radar of his own somewhere in the country, so I hear.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on February 6


There's a really great live bootleg of Bo at a Cornell frat house floating around. If anyone's interested, Google "Bo Diddley Spring Weekend 1959" -- it's easy to find.
posted by neroli at 9:14 AM on February 6


It's the Bo Diddley beat yt . often appropriated rarely attributed.

It's not as if Bo Diddley invented that beat. Consider Hambone by Red Saunders and his Orchestra. That came out three years before BD's "Bo Diddley" (which pretty obviously owes a lot to it). Bo Diddley's own account of the "origin" of the beat is that he was trying to play Gene Autry's "I've Got Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle" and the rhythm morphed out of that. True or not (and the Autry song is certainly close, rhythmically) it's another interesting example of the general cross-pollination of popular music genres in the early and mid-C20th which people often want, retrospectively, to imagine as much more segregated (both racially and generically) than they actually were.
posted by yoink at 9:17 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I had no idea ZZ Top borrowed that line (the post title) from Bo Diddley (it's in Tube Snake Boogie at about 1:48) but I'm absolutely unsurprised to find it out.
posted by immlass at 9:27 AM on February 6


Okay, I never played Rampage with Bo Diddley, but I did play the Simpsons arcade game with Weird Al once...
posted by stenseng at 9:49 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I had no idea ZZ Top borrowed that line (the post title) from Bo Diddley

S'okeh. Bo borrowed most of these lyrics (including this one) from prior sources, too.

 
posted by Herodios at 10:00 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I played the World Cup 1994 pinball machine with Jimmy Page. And my band has a song called "Bo Diddley Beatdown." That is all.
posted by AJaffe at 11:39 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Thanks flapjack, between the Stax post the other day and Bo Didley, my week is complete.
posted by briac at 11:52 AM on February 6


Okay, I never played Rampage with Bo Diddley, but I did play the Simpsons arcade game with Weird Al once...

You're just going to leave us hanging?
posted by ryanshepard at 12:12 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Eh,the 1955 Bo Diddley is from the Ed Sullivan Show. According to Wikipedia, Bo Diddley was to do only one song ("Sixteen Tons") but since the card showed "Bo Diddley / Sixteen Tons", he went ahead and played both songs.
posted by briac at 12:22 PM on February 6


t's not as if Bo Diddley invented that beat

Indeed, I like to think it's about as old as humanity but that's obviously not susceptible to proof. Why is son clave so awesome has some nifty examples of places where that beat has been before. The blogger, Ethan Hein, who's pretty much always interesting to read btw, is discussing a paper called "The Rhythm That Conqured the World" -
Wherever son clave came from, it’s incredibly popular. Toussaint observes that the beat “is heard in all corners of the world, in almost any type of music, including rhythm and blues, salsa, rockabilly, rock, soukous, jazz, house, and the fusion pop music of scores of countries.”
I'm no musicologist, although I'm pretty sure some of y'all are, but I thought it was super-interesting
posted by hap_hazard at 12:24 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


All the girls screaming non-stop in these and other videos from the era ... is this creative editing, or was it really like that?

At times it sounded like a scream-version of a laugh track; other times I wonder if the audience wasn't cued to scream at certain points, the way they are cued to applause at certain points today.
posted by kanewai at 12:57 PM on February 6


was it really like that

Well, I suppose there's a chicken-and-egg argument to be had (did they scream because they saw that in media representations, or were the media representations like that because of all the screaming) but the continual screaming thing was definitely real, even in concerts that weren't being broadcast. Listen to bootleg recordings of the Beatles, for example, and there's just a steady, unceasing shriek from start to finish.
posted by yoink at 1:17 PM on February 6


A friend of mine once met a girl in Amsterdam. All he knew the day after was that she was a singer, that her name was Beau, and that he was desperate to meet her again.

I suggested he might be able to find her online. He got behind my computer, entered something into Google, and then asked: "Have you ever heard of Beau Diddley? Could it be her?"
posted by mahershalal at 2:26 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Man, was there ever a better sound? Seriously.
Basically, perfect music.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:12 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I told ya about my father; I've also talked elsewhere on the blue about the all-Bo-Diddley-riff playlist I made once for funsies and sent to him for Father's Day, to great success. It's also the first playlist I sent in for the Mefi Music Swap. Here it is on Spotify if you like - not all of the musicians are Bo Diddley (or, maybe they are in some fundamental way).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:25 PM on February 6


I'll just leave this pointer to the first of 5 segments of an overlooked, underappreciated early-rock-history masterpiece. It's by Patrick Montgomery, was released in 1984, clearly spells out what and who made Fabian and Frankie and Pat Boone - and the British Invasion - possible, and still gets me all woiked up.

(You'll find Bo in the middle of segment 2.)
posted by Twang at 6:36 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I remember when my Mom took me to see Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley in 1994 or so. I was a huge Chuck Berry fan and only really knew Bo Diddley's eponymous song that they played on the local oldies station in Philly. Bo & his band got up there and convincingly blew Chuck Berry (and everyone else I had evern seen live up to that point) off the stage.

I became an instant fan of that crazy old man.
posted by snottydick at 9:27 AM on February 7


Also, the 1965 video led me to this. I'm struck by how unusual it must have been for an American primetime TV audience to see a mixed-race band with a female guitarist playing rock & roll music of this caliber.
posted by snottydick at 9:46 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


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