Bo Diddley, the influential singer/songwriter often refereed to as “one of the founding fathers of Rock and Roll”, died today at age 79 in his Archer, Florida home.
According to a spokesperson, the cause was heart failure. The musician had struggled with heart-related problems over the last year, suffering a stroke while on tour in May 2007 and a heart attack in August. Affecting his ability to speak, the stroke prompted Diddley to return to his Florida home for recovery. The spokesperson said that he was surrounded by family and friends when he died. Public and private services are scheduled for this weekend.
Diddley’s music influenced musicians such as Buddy Holly, who borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song “Not Fade Away.” The Rolling Stones later created a bluesy rendition of the same song as their first chart single in the United States in 1964. Many other artists copied elements of Diddley’s style, such as The Who, Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen.
Born in McComb, Mississippi with the name Ellas Bates, the rock pioneer adopted the moniker ‘Bo Diddley’ from some youngsters during the time he spent growing up in Chicago, according to a 1999 interview.
Known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, Diddley was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton. (Associated Press)
Diddley appreciated the honors he received, “but it didn’t put no figures in my checkbook.”
Leaving fans with much more than his musical legacy, Diddley said, “If you ain’t got no money, ain’t nobody calls you honey.”
Tap your feet to a Diddley beat…a few famous Bo Diddley songs
“Who Do You Love?”
“You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover”
“Shave and a Haircut”
Bo at his best: