Monday, June 02, 2008

We Hardly Knew Ye: Bo Diddley

Sad news: Rock 'n' roll giant Bo Diddley died today at age 79 -- here's a quick obit, and a longer bio.

As with many other older performers, I didn't much listen to his stuff 'til I realized what a big influence he was on so many of my favorite bands: he toured with the Stones and the Clash and played a show here with Mudhoney. His tunes have been covered by the New York Dolls, the Yardbirds, Patti Smith, Girl Trouble and loads of others. And his signature Bo Diddley beat (chunk, chunk, chunk, a-chunk-chunk), has been aped by countless bands, like the Stooges in "1969."

The first time I recall seeing him was as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in the '80s. In brief opening skit, Diddley and Letterman and Jane Pauley (another guest) talk about taking a road trip together. Dave says something like, "Hey, let's stay with Bo's parents in Missippi," to which Pauley responds, "That's great! I've never met the Diddleys!"

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