Bo Diddley, legendary guitar player and predecessor of just about everything exciting in rock music, has died at age 79. His famous syncopated rhythm pattern (that many of us learned in grade school as the colloquial, "shave and a hair cut, two bits") became one of the most recognizable and eagerly copied rhythms in music.
Diddley was one of my favorite guitar players and showmen, his body seemed plugged into his own sounds: feet shuffling, legs twitching, arms flailing—he showcased all the ways that electricity was crucial to the evolution of rock 'n' roll, that it was its own force, to be harnessed but not necessarily tamed.
One of the best album covers of all time was for Bo Diddley is a Gunslinger. It is the prototype for countless artists whose depiction of themselves on their album cover is both a dare and a challenge.
Watch two videos of Diddley below:
And listen to songs that employed the Bo Diddley rhythm.
Such as The Strangeloves' "I Want Candy":
A song you might be more familiar with as performed by Bow Wow Wow:
Lastly, The Who's "Magic Bus":
Here's the piece All Things Considered ran ran on Bo Diddley, from reporter Neda Ulaby.
R.I.P Bo Diddley.