Wonderful Tunes Provided By Friends. Wild Tangents Provided By Me.

Bo Diddley

I mentioned Bo Diddley the other day and realized I hadn’t ever done a post about him. He was born Ellas Otha Bates but he took his stage name from a musician friend of his mother’s. Rolling Stone Magazine named him in its list of 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time for his pioneering work in rock and roll. The song today is “Bo Diddley” which was Bo’s first single. It spent 18 weeks at the top of the R&B charts and the song itself is listed at #62 in Billboard’s Top 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.

The rhythm of this song comes from the African Juba Dance (aka Hambone) but the words are derived from the traditional lullaby “Hush Little Baby.” Everyone who has ever heard the “Hush Little Baby” song has made up hilarious (and possibly off-color) new lyrics. Everyone. Some may try to deny having musically purchased alcohol, tobacco, firearms and other assorted vices for infants because giving such items to actual children is naughty. But, if “Rock-A-Bye Baby” has taught us anything, it’s that (fictional) reckless child endangerment is acceptable and even adorable as long as it’s in lullaby form.

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Comments on: "Bo Diddley" (3)

  1. Correction:
    Ellas knew the power of creating a “mystique” and I do not doubt that he entertained himself and others by saying things that would later be contradictory to what he might have said from one time to the next. Having said that, I heard many stories after he passed in 2008, but he did not get his stage name from his mother’s musician friend. The only “consistent” story I ever heard out of his mouth was; neighborhood friends gave him the name when they discovered that this big ole’ country boy who could whoop more than a little ass, also played the violin, which at the time (and incorrectly so) was the last instrument you would expect to see played by an African American OR a guy that was not a “sissy”.

    • Thank you very much for correcting me on the name story! It’s good to hear it from someone who heard it from the source since I got my info at least fourth hand.

  2. Thanks – where is article source?

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