Wednesday 4 June 2008

News: Bo Diddley

Music pioneer Bo Diddley died earlier this week. This has led, in some circles, to a reassessment of his legacy. The consensus seems to be that Diddley's (really, Ellis Otha Bates') contribution to the creation of rock and roll in the mid-1950s has still not been adequately recognized. As a corrective, here's a short guide to the life and work of a true original:
  • To begin, NPR's All Things Considered provides an audio profile...
  • ...and the New York Times examines his musical legacy.
  • The Village Voice looks into its archives and pulls out a 1973 interview...
  • ...and the Guardian assesses Bo Diddley in video.
  • Tom Breihan provides a detailed analysis of ten essential Diddley songs...
  • ...whilst Passion of the Weiss provides some MP3s (and rightly asserts: "Diddley’s story doesn’t warrant a blog post, it warrants a biography or a biopic").
  • And finally: some video of the man in action - and a quick story too. This might be the most famous performance in Diddley's career, an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1955. As legend has it, Sullivan had asked him to perform Tennessee Ernie Ford's big hit "Sixteen Tons." Come show time, Diddley did things his way, and performed his own single, "Bo Diddley." Though he was promptly banned from the Sullivan show, it also meant that he might just have performed the first rock and roll song on national television. And here it is:

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