Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)


Stories Behind the Music -- A Legend Beyond His Hits

Bo Diddley. Ever heard that name before? Probably. The man with that stage name was an interesting case study in the history of early rock n' roll. His real name was Otha McDaniel. But, for as long as I can remember, the name Bo Diddley has been synonymous with the title "master and legend of rock music".

Diddley's legendary status came about even though the artist did not have that many hit songs. He is so important, historically, that there are songs with his name in the title. The first "Diddley" titled tune was recorded by Diddley himself. But other artists have also recorded songs about Bo Diddley.  Bo got the name in an amusing way. He was about 15 years old and he was practicing the guitar. A neighbor girl saw him and said that he sure looked like a real Bo Diddley when he was playing. The boy had no clue what that meant, but he liked the name. He would be Bo Diddley.

Diddley holds the distinction of being the first and one of the only artists whose name became the title of his first hit single. Yep, it was called Bo Diddley and others recorded it as well. This cut made it to #1 on the R&B charts in 1955.

Over the years Diddley put his name in the titles of other songs too. The flip side of that first R&B hit has stood the test of time. It is, probably, Diddley's best known song. Check out his guitar in the video. Some people believe that Diddley was the founding father of funk. His songs had a distinctive beat.

Some of the songs Diddley wrote were bigger hits for other artists than they were for the man himself. I'm a Man was an early hit for the Yardbirds, from the UK. Another of his songs Who Do You Love has become a standard with rockers.  Case in point: Here is Eric Clapton, with Robbie Robertson of the Band, doing their rendition of that Diddley classic.


The late Bo Diddley is a rock n' roll legend and innovator, despite the fact he did not have that many hits. He had respect though, almost from the start. Many famous artists worshiped his abilities. Even back in 1963, the Rolling Stones added Bo Diddley to their tour.

For more "Stories Behind the Music" click on the guitar  

  Steven L. Smith

 Bellingham WA Home Inspections


Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 







Comment balloon 9 commentsSteven L. Smith • October 26 2008 11:02AM


Hi Steven ... How nice to see a post about Bo Didley.  Love him, saw him ... amazing musician.

Posted by Marie Meyer, Orange County New York Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

Bo Didley is one of the founders of our rippin riffs, and a legend for sure.

Posted by Kim Sellers, Lake Arrowhead Realtor - BRE#01412099 - Lake Arrow (Lake Arrowhead, CA Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago
Diddley was the man for sure.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

I liked that beat.  No telling how many beers have been drunk with that beat in the background.  Wonder if Beeman could head bang to that?

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 10 years ago

I share your taste in music -- thanks for the above info.

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) over 10 years ago
Barbara I think this is too tame for the Beeman. Li, And thanks for the comments.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Obviously I've heard of Bo Diddleybut never knew what songs he had written. I believe that having an unusual name like "Bo Diddley", being an unusual name helped in people remembering him and his music.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) over 10 years ago

I did not know much about the man - now I have been enlightened - thank you.

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Keller Williams Realty Professionals) over 10 years ago


Now you know who the famous Bo Didley really was.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago