Childhood and youth
Bo Diddley was (according to other sources, Otha Ellas ) was born on a small farm near the town of McComb, Mississippi, as Ellas Otha Bates. Since his mother could not raise him, he was adopted by her cousin Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he adopted. As Diddley was seven years old, the family moved to Chicago.
First Diddley learned to play the violin, with twelve years he got from his sister Lucille a simple Gibson guitar given to practice. Towards the end of his school days, he and two friends the band The hipsters and played with them on the road. After school, he worked as a carpenter and mechanic.
Diddley's band The Hipsters of time have become increasingly popular in the course. At the age of 19 he was offered a contract at the 708 Club in Chicago. Thanks to its powerful amplifier, his unique style and his unusual guitar that he had extended with a self-built from an old clock and auto parts tremolo unit, he attracted considerable attention. 1954 Jackson and Williams left the band and was replaced by James Bradford and a certain Buttercup. These were joined by Billy Boy Arnold, Clifton James and Jerome Green.
By Billy Boy Arnold Bo Diddley tried to stay with various record companies. He eventually with his two pieces and Bo Diddley I'm a Man at Chess Records. On this single also had Willie Dixon and Otis Spann with. Due to the success he played some concerts nationwide, including at the Apollo Theater in New York City, where he broke the held up to that time attendance record of Sammy Davis Junior. In the following years he was heard again and again in the charts and becoming a versatile musician.
In 1958 he made an electric guitar with a rectangular body for itself. He hired the neck of a Gretsch guitar and headstock and fingerboard and the electrical, bridge and tailpiece and installed these components on a flat rectangular pieces of bakelite; this unconventional look instrument became his trademark. Apparently Diddley favored the rectangular shape, which was inspired by the Blues in the original Cigar Box Guitar, originally emerged from poverty shape of the guitar where the body of a wooden box, a cigar box, was manufactured.
In 1959, Bo Diddley played together with Peggy Jones aka " Lady Bo ", a graduate of the New York music school. With her , he expanded the range of his songs again. In 1960 he moved to Washington, D.C. From this time he was also his music even produce - a time in this unusual for a colored musician musical freedom that would otherwise only enjoyed James Brown. In 1962, his time being last hit with the song Bo Diddley You Can not Judge a Book By the Cover ( Dixon ). Under his real name Ellas McDaniel, he also wrote songs like Mona, which was recorded by the Troggs, Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones. Predominant is a certain rhythm, which is called " Bo Diddley beat" or as " salesman 's knock " (because the traveling merchant wont to knock in this way to the front doors ). Examples of these syncopated rhythm ( stroke / stroke / stroke / rest / stroke / stroke ) are Diddley compositions like Bo Diddley, but also Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf Magic Bus by The Who and Not fade away, a song by Buddy Holly the was known especially for the early Rolling Stones.
From the late 1960s he became, like many other blues musicians also, something in his musical offside. Nevertheless, he continued to publish albums. This emerged together with known colleagues such as Little Walter, Muddy Waters and Howlin 'Wolf. At the Toronto Peace Festival 1969, he appeared alongside John Lennon, among other Plastic Ono Band, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1972 he was one of the top acts from the London Rock And Roll Show at the famous Wembley Stadium. Also in the 1970s further the influence of Bo Diddley remained constantly present. Many musicians from the punk and new wave scene drew on his pieces.
1989 Diddley appeared in the Nike commercial with Bo knows baseball and American football player Bo Jackson.
1987 Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 into the Blues Hall of Fame. Occasionally he took supporting roles in films such as 1983, the pawnbroker in Trading Places. In the film, Blues Brothers 2000, he appeared as a musician; In 2003 he made a guest appearance in the American sitcom According to Jim.
Illness and death
13 May 2007 Bo Diddley suffered after a concert in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a stroke which impaired his speech center strong. On 29 August 2007 he suffered a heart attack and had to be hospitalized again. On June 2, 2008 Diddley died at the age of 79 years at his home in Florida of heart failure.