Bo Diddley, "The Originator" of rock and roll, & huge influence on The EBs

Feel free to add to this thread on Bo Diddley.

“I hate to brag about it, but Donald’s chord inversions, fills, and rhythmic things on songs such as ‘Wake Up Little Susie,’ ‘Bird Dog,’ and ‘Bye Bye Love’ are very important, and his style is still emulated today. You have to think about the history of it. That kind of playing didn’t exist in rock music back then. We had our dad showing us things, and we had Bo Diddley’s rhythmic thing, and Don kind of melded together those rhythms with his own ‘incongruous’ chords. That’s when a song like ‘Bye Bye Love’ jumped to life. My playing, compared to Donald’s is like a joke. I can’t say I did anything special.”

— Phil Everly

“The first time I heard the song "Bo Diddley" in 1955, it just nailed me. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never be able to have that type of rhythm in any kind of country music." "

-- Don Everly

"I heard Bo Diddley, and I thought to myself, 'I will never be happy with just country music. I won't be happy.' "

-- Don Everly

"I sat with Don Everly one night, Don was a real drinker at that point, and I said, ‘Don, I’ve got to ask you something. I’ve known every song you guys have ever done’ -- that’s why I got the job in their band; I know every vocal part, I know every guitar part -- except, I said, ‘there’s something I’ve never understood on your first single, “Bye Bye Love,” and that is the intro. What is that sound? Who’s playing the guitar that starts that song?’ And Don Everly goes, ‘Oh, that was just this G tuning that Bo Diddley showed me.’ And I went, ‘Excuse me, I’m sorry, what did you say?’ And he had a guitar, so he’s putting it in the open G tuning and he goes, ‘Yeah, it was me.’ and he plays it and I go, ‘Oh, my word, that’s it! It was you!' "

-- Waddy Wachtel, former EBs bandmember


"Diddley, Bo – Born Ellas Otha Bates (30th December 1928 – 2nd June 2008) in McComb, Mississippi, Bo Diddley was an American rock & roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter and had a huge influence on many bands and individuals including Buddy Holly and Don Everly (Don attributes his opening riff on "Bye Bye Love" to Bo Diddley’s influence on his music). Known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from blues to rock & roll, he introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalogue of songs. In addition to the many songs recorded by him, in 1956 he co-wrote with Jody Williams the pioneering pop song "Love Is Strange," a hit for Mickey & Sylvia in 1957, and also covered by The EBs.

Diddley learned to play the violin as a youth but switched to guitar after seeing Johnny Lee Hooker perform. He worked as a carpenter and mechanic, but also began a musical career playing on street corners with friends. In 1951, he landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side, with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters. In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, drummer Clifton James and bass player Roosevelt Jackson, and recorded demos of "I'm A Man" and "Bo Diddley." The record was released in March 1955, and the A-side, "Bo Diddley," became a #1 R&B hit. He continued to have hits through the late 1950s and the 1960s – "Pretty Thing" (1956), "Say Man" (1959), and "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover" (1962). He released a string of albums whose titles (e.g. Bo Diddley Is A Gunslinger and Have Guitar, Will Travel) - bolstered his self-invented legend. In 1963, he starred in a UK concert tour with the Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The Rolling Stones, then unknown, appeared much lower on the same bill.

Bo Diddley was well known for the “Bo Diddley beat,” a rumba-like beat, similar to “hambone,” a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes; somewhat resembling “shave and a haircut” beat. Diddley came across it while trying to play Gene Autry’s "(I’ve Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle." His songs (e.g. "Hey Bo Diddley" and "Who Do You Love?") often have no chord changes; i.e. the musicians play the same chord throughout, so that the rhythms create the excitement. In other recordings, Bo Diddley used a variety of rhythms, from straight back beat to pop ballad style to doo-wop, frequently with maracas by Jerome Green.

Bo Diddley’s trademark instrument was the rectangular-bodied Gretsch, nicknamed “The Twang Machine.” Although he had other similar-shaped guitars custom-made for him by other manufacturers, he fashioned this guitar himself around 1958. In a 2005 interview on JJJ radio in Australia, Bo implied that the design sprang from an embarrassing moment. In an early gig, while jumping around on stage with a Gibson L5 guitar, he landed awkwardly hurting his groin. He then designed a smaller, less restrictive guitar that allowed him to keep jumping around on stage while playing his guitar. He also played the violin, which is featured on his mournful instrumental "The Clock Strikes Twelve," a 12-bar blues.

Bo Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1996, and in 1997 his 1955 recording of "Bo Diddley" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame as a recording of lasting qualitative or historical significance.

In 2004, Mickey and Sylvia’s 1956 recording of "Love Is Strange" received the same accolade and he was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. He received a Pioneer in Entertainment Award in 2002 from the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, and a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Icon Award. In 2003, U.S. Representative John Conyers paid tribute to Bo Diddley in the US House of Representatives describing him as “one of the true pioneers of rock and roll, who has influenced generations.” In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him #20 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

He spent many years in New Mexico, not only as a musician, but he served for two and a half years as Deputy Sheriff in the Valencia County Citizens’ Patrol and personally donated three highway patrol pursuit cars. For the remainder of his life he resided in Archer, Florida. On May 13, 2007 Bo Diddley was admitted to intensive care following a stroke after a concert at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 12. The stroke was followed by a heart attack. Bo Diddley died June 2, 2008 of heart failure at his home in Florida."
Last update on September 24, 11:02 pm by Mary.
Quote from:


"Another arrow in the Everly quiver was open tunings. 'I couldn’t figure out why Bo Diddley sounded the way he did,' said Everly. 'Chet Atkins told me he thought he may be in open tuning, and he was right. So I began using open tunings like G, and that made us sound like three guitars instead of two.'"

Last update on September 24, 5:05 pm by Ricardo Delgado R..
Ricardo A-Priori

Diddley with his cousin Jerome Green, on maracas, 1958. Green must be the maracas player in the 1955 "Bo Diddley" clip above.

“Phillip and I were singing country stuff on the radio show (in Knoxville, TN), but as we were teenagers, we were going to be influenced by what was happening in the music scene at that point. I’d been exposed to rhythm and blues because my father played rhythm and blues. And then right up from the Campus Barber Shop (in Knoxville) was a record store. I went in there and listened to Bo Diddley, and my life wasn’t the same after that.”
- Don Everly

“Don Everly and I, we used to listen to "Bo Diddley," the song. We’d get together and practice that lick. Bo Diddley tuned the guitar in an open key. We’d play that, and Don would say "‘You know, if I ever make records, we’ll use that.'" ”
- Chet Atkins
Last update on September 24, 10:55 pm by Mary.
Diddley's great influence on The EBs was open tuning guitar style and rhythm.

Link to Open Tuning Guitar Style & The EBs Sound in Forum:

Tour program, The EBs and Bo Diddley, 1963.
Last update on September 25, 8:44 am by Mary.
I recall reading about Bo Diddley and his designing that rectangular shaped guitar, The Twang Machine. He hurt himself when he was jumping around the stage and it apparently became a necessity for him to design another less restrictive guitar to facilitate his jumping around on stage. "Necessity is the mother of invention" or something like that, I guess.

Don trying out Bo's guitar. 1963 tour, England, with Julie Grant.

1958, Shreveport, LA.
Last update on January 24, 7:31 pm by Mary.
Guess we should've posted the "Don't Ya Even Try" comments here...
Ricardo A-Priori
Go for it. Obvious examples of The EBs channeling Bo Diddley's style should be on this thread.
Last update on January 24, 8:30 pm by Mary.

Don with Bo Diddley, 1993.
Last update on April 2, 12:50 pm by Mary.
Read that Wikipedia again! Hey, it was Don Everly after Buddy Holly and before the Beatles and the rest of those people! Read this thread Wikipedia! I think I need to send a note to Wikipedia about some references that are left out about the Everly Brothers that clearly should be added to a particular Wikipedia. In all honesty, whoever does the Wikipedia probably does not have all the information they need. I do get bent out of shape when I notice the Everly Brothers are not mentioned in a Wikipedia when they definitely should have been included.
I find Bo Diddley's being a Deputy Sheriff most interesting. The man lived a very colorful life apparently. Can you imagine Bo Diddley having his siren going while you are driving and you stop and he wants to see your driver's license. Really, Mr. Diddley? You want to see my driver's license? Here's my license. Now can I hear some guitar playing? Do you have a guitar in the rear seat of your patrol car? Bo Diddley: Keep it up, lady, and I will triple the fine for speeding! Somehow I can't believe Bo Diddly would do that. Maybe he did not do high-speed chases. lol
Last update on April 2, 1:14 pm by Lenore.
Lenore, Re. Wikipedia:

Welcome to Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

[My highlighting]

I myself edited & added information to the Everly Brothers article [please see the second line under "Style and Influences", reference # 48 about their influence on the Beatles] and will correct the nonsense about their voices in Since You Broke My Heart as soon as I have the time to do it [I'm afraid I'll have to transcribe the song the way i did with Devoted to You in this and other forums].

So you can get yourself right down to work...

Last update on April 2, 8:38 pm by Ricardo Delgado R..
Ricardo A-Priori
Lenore, just did a minor editing to the EBs Wikipedia page:

Added "acoustic" to "steel-string guitar" in the second line at the beginning of the article.

You can check it out @:

Last update on April 2, 8:39 pm by Ricardo Delgado R..
Ricardo A-Priori
Richardo, thank you for your editing. Do you also do professional proofreading? I am joking, of course. That along with translating? I am very sure writers would love the benefits of your proofreading. I did not know you could edit Wikipedia. Somehow I wonder if that is really a good thing; seems like there should be a "higher authority." But who would be the higher authority? I love Wikipedia and Everlypedia but I have seen wrong info in both. Everlypedia could use some updating which would be very nice.

Looked at your editing. Thank you! I go back to the Everlys' Wikipedia often and I think there has been additional info added to it since I first looked at it in depth after Phil died. That's where I learned about their style of harmony explained; I did not see it anywhere else before that; now I see it referenced off and on in articles about them.
Last update on April 3, 10:25 am by Lenore.
Lenore,ha ha, actually I have done some professional editing & proofreading, for the National University of Mexico [UNAM] and as a free lancer! LOL! [You can check out my profile @ LinkedIn as Ricardo Delgado Rangel]

The principle under which Wikipedia operates is that "Among all of us, we know it all". It has a pretty sophisticated fact checking system, making it clear when citations are needed. [As a matter of fact I've been insisting we adopt the policy in this site in order to avoid confusions and made up or downright wrong facts.] Do give yourself a chance to explore it, I'm sure you'll love it:

On the other hand Everlypedia is the sole effort of Robin Dunn and Chrissie van Varik [thanx & kudos to those guys!] who humbly state that "We are happy to receive constructive comments, queries and corrections; contact details are in the various documents.", please check out:

So welcome to the highway of information era. Participate and enjoy it!

Last update on April 3, 12:06 pm by Ricardo Delgado R..
Ricardo A-Priori
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