Gosh, Bo Diddley’s gone. Which instantly reaffirmed one Internet lesson: if you want to boost the popularity of your YouTube videos, die. My two favorites (via Twitter today): Mona, with Tom Petty (listen to Bo’s guitar) and then this ancient B&W TV shoot with a young Bo and lots of screaming Sixties girls. But man, I love that rhythm, and lots of other people have played it well.

I’ve always smiled at George Thorogood’s take on Bo’s Who Do You Love?, but the YouTube pickings are kind of slim; this isn’t bad though it falls short of the version on 1978’s Move It On Over. But I personally think that Ronnie Hawkins owns that song, and have always loved the Last Waltz performance; for my money, one of Robbie Robertson’s best guitar outings ever.

And then there’s The Clash; around the time of London Calling they may or may not have been the Best Rock Band in the World, but to me at least, they were The Only Band That Mattered.

And on London Calling there were two bo-diddleys right after each other: Hateful and Rudie Can’t Fail. There’s a lot of Clash on YouTube, and watching some now I’m reminded of how unbelievably great they were live. But I can’t find either of those tunes. (Well, there’s a very decent Rudie from Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros). On the totally-unlikely off-chance that you like rock but don’t have London Calling, drop everything and buy it now.

Thanks for that rhythm, Bo, and those tunes built around it. There’ll be someone playing a bo-diddley in a bar somewhere as long as Homo sapiens draws breath.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Patrick Wright (Jun 03 2008, at 00:38)

One of my favorite tributes to Bo Diddley is David Lindley's "Pay Bo Diddley". Touching, rocking, and very funny. Check out the live version if you can find it.


From: John (Jun 03 2008, at 04:08)

Re Bo and Tom Petty

Wherein Bo makes Tom Petty look like a flash in the pan haircut. I hope that Petty one day admits as much, but won't hold my breath.


From: Bob Aman (Jun 03 2008, at 05:58)

If you want to boost the popularity of <em>anything</em> you've ever done, die.


From: John Cowan (Jun 03 2008, at 06:51)

Hardly a lesson specific to the Internet: it's been true in other media for a long, long time. If you can't quite manage being dead, try to be tried for murdering your boyfriend, or some such.

(Sometimes I wonder whether James Dean's death was really such an accident... Five million USD a year, half a century later, that's not a bad deal. The guy's dead, he can't be libeled now.)


From: Randy Hudson (Jun 03 2008, at 17:46)

My first exposure to Bo Diddley's music was Quicksilver Messenger Service's "Happy Trails" album, with its remarkable 25 minute outing on "Who Do You Love". The guitarists both have solos that hold up very well 40 years later (as does the bassist's), and the drummer plays just about every possible variation of the beat. Even the audience participation section demonstrates the Fillmore had the best clappers.

Their "Mona" isn't too shabby either.


From: len (Jun 04 2008, at 05:46)

My favorite Bo Diddley moment is when Chrissie Hynde talked to him at an MTV Award show on live camera and he told her,

"You ain't no musician. You a model."

and that said it all (if cleaned up for print).


From: Jamie Orchard-Hays (Jun 04 2008, at 15:51)

I saw him about 20 years ago at Trax here in Charlottesville, VA. A great show. At one point a scuffle broke out up front. Bo just stopped right in the middle of the song and gave them a talking to. Just stopped them dead. Then he picked right back up with the song and continued...


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