Music » Livewire

Bo Diddley

Friday, January 21, at the House of Blues.


What would rock and roll be without a little posturing? Okay, more than a little. And every purported cool cat who ever brandished a mic or guitar onstage owes a little something to the Mississippi-born Elias McDaniel, aka Bo Diddley.

In addition to his unique signature sound and easily identified guitar figures, Bo could always be counted on to spin a tale celebrating his bad, woman-pleasin' self. One could argue that the Rock Hall inductee's hits from the mid-'50s and early '60s, including "Who Do You Love," "I'm a Man," and "Bo Diddley's a Gunslinger," are merely different takes on the same extended boast. A consistent R&B and rock chart climber in his heyday, Bo was a staple of the storied Chess/Checker Records labels for two decades.

While both the Stones and the Yardbirds would take major hits off Bo's shave-and-a-haircut rhythm patterns and his up-front use of maracas, Bo was also lifted by contemporaries like Johnny Otis ("Willie and the Hand Jive") and Buddy Holly ("Not Fade Away"). His fans and admirers in the present-day rock world are innumerable. One of the last remaining creators of the music, Bo's still a gunslinger.

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