Bo Diddley

Growing up in Chicago as Ellas McDaniel (the name of his adoptive mother), Bo Diddley studied trombone and violin at his local Baptist church, played in an orchestra until he was 18 and, diverted by the exciting rhythms he heard at a Pentecostal church, took up the guitar. He worked as a carpenter and mechanic but, busking on the streets of Chicago in his spare time, was offered a club residency. He adopted the name Bo Diddley from the title of his first hit single in 1955, a simple but irrepressibly infectious guitar riff, indelibly defined by its mix of African rhythms with full-blooded rock'n'roll. Covered by Buddy Holly, The Animals, Janis Joplin and numerous others, (the track) Bo Diddley remains one of rock's most imitated songs, irrevocably cementing (the man) Bo Diddley as an icon. He continued to have hits through the 1950s and 1960s, toured with the Everly Brothers, Little Richard and the Rolling Stones and wrote another major song, Love Is Strange, though he never again recorded anything as influential as his signature track. Later generations continued to revere him - he regularly appeared on "guitar greats" events with the likes of Eric Clapton and B.B. King and even opened for The Clash on a US tour. He died in 2008.

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