RIP, Bo Diddley

How cool was he? He had his own rhythm named after him. That’s pretty damn cool, my friends.

11 Comments on “RIP, Bo Diddley”

  1. Saw Bo play at the Long Beach Blues Festival a few years back. Unlike Chuck Berry, who was on the same bill and simply phoned in his performance, Bo worked hard to keep abreast of what was happening in music and was never averse to incorporating new stuff into his work. He did some new material that was quite modern and paid homage to his original hits. A guy who never got what he should have from what he contributed (but let’s not go into that here), I’m gonna miss him.

  2. I’ve got a friend whose pride and joy is a Gretsch Bo-diddley guitar he got a couple years ago. I can only imagine how sad this is going to make him.

    It’s a shame to see another entertainment legend go out.

  3. Burns! – LA. Not Louisiana. Los Angeles. – More fun than anyone I know. Probably more than anyone you know, too.

    Sad news indeed.

    I met Diddley in ’98 (photo:,) and got to spend a bit of time with him. In addition to being one hell of a performer, he was also a genuinely nice guy. If anyone had a right to be bitter about how the business had treated him, it was Bo, but he seemed happy just to be performing and still working at what he loved.

    RIP, Bo.

    On a side-note, re: that Long Beach Blues Fest that GVDub spoke of…
    I was there, too. Bo Diddley was great; Chuck Berry was going through the motions. I was backstage before his set and Berry had pulled up in a Town Car. He parked it outside his trailer, but never got out of the car. He just sat there behind the wheel with the motor running, unwilling to leave the A/C. As people began to recognize who was in the car, they approached to ask for autographs. Berry would crack the window about 1/2″, they’d pass in paper and pen, he would sign and pass back out, then roll the window right back up. Most of the time he didn’t even speak to the fans.

    It served to emphasize what a class act Diddley was.

  4. dompaul – I'm an editor at a small-town paper. And occasionally, I like to fool myself into thinking I'm a novelist.

    I never saw Bo perform live, but I remember my mother putting his music on the turntable and I’d dance like an idiot to that churning, 5/4 beat.

    Man, I still dance like an idiot when I hear his stuff.

    And how cool is his guitar, an homage to old-school cigar box axes.


  5. When I was in high school (mid seventies, I confess) we had a popular local oldies cover band called the Bo Diddleys. Guess that was before hyper-lawyering.

  6. My dad’s favorite. He’s a product of the fifty’s. I inherited his love of Bo Diddly’s music. I have some records(real records) of his.

  7. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, with skin on fire

    Damn. He was just in town I believe. Amazing stuff! I had a to download more today upon hearing this.

    Heaven has heavier rhythm now.

  8. Not only did he make music, he made guitars. His original axes were hand-built, with his own two hands.

    That’s before the fur-covered Gretsch shtuff, natch.

  9. Sigh. Adios to another American original. I knew I’d regret not going to see him when he came through a few years ago.

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