Local Wire

Bo Diddley

He's one of rock 'n' roll's few legends with a beat named in his honor. And the weird thing is, Bo Diddley plays guitar, not drums. But as Diddley himself has explained, "I play the guitar as if I was playing the drums." That much is true, although most drums don't have that kind of tremolo. There's more to Diddley than the beat that bears his name, though. You can start with his being the name above — and in — the title on two of the earliest rock 'n' roll albums worth a damn — Bo Diddley and Go Bo Diddley, both of which are packed with such oft-covered classics as "Who Do You Love?" and "Mona." As Diddley superfan Keith Richards pointed out in Rolling Stone this very year, "Muddy [Waters] and Chuck [Berry] were close to straight electric blues, but Bo was fascinatingly on the edge . . . suggesting that the kind of music we loved didn't just come from Mississippi. It was coming from somewhere else." What Richards means by somewhere else is Africa, no doubt, but he could just as easily be talking outer space.
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Ed Masley