Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (1958)

Bo Diddley was a highly influential American R&B singer-songwriter and guitarist, who played a key role in the laying the foundations of rock & roll.

Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates in Mississippi in 1928. He became Ellas McDaniel when he was adopted and raised by his mother's cousin. In 1934 his family moved to Chicago, where he was to discover his passion for music. In the 40s he began playing guitar on street corners with his friends, and by 1951 had secured himself a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side, becoming part of the city's rhythm & blues scene.
He first recorded for Chess Records in 1954, under his new alias of Bo Diddley. The single "Bo Diddley" came out in '55, backed with "I'm A Man". It was a remarkable tune, with a primitive, percussive sound based around an African hambone beat. This rhythm would come to be Bo Diddley's signature sound, and featured on a large number of his songs from this point onwards. The song itself was an immediate hit, getting to #1 on the R&B charts and launching his career. A number of singles in a similar style followed, the second highest charting being "Pretty Thing", at #4.
His first album didn't come out until 1958, be which time he had become a great success. It was effectively a compilation of most of his early singles and their b-sides. Alongside the three afore-mentioned songs, it had other Bo Diddley classics such as "Who Do You Love", "Before You Accuse Me", "Diddley Daddy", "Diddy Wah Diddy" and "Hey! Bo Diddley". Taken as a whole, these songs can be seen as highly influential in the evolution of rock & roll from its R&B sources. Diddley was among the first to start moving in this direction, and the songs on this first album have come to be regarded as early rock & roll classics.

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