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.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections