Bo Diddley dies

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 2 June 2008

Blues legend Bo Diddley dies

Legendary blues guitarist Bo Diddley has died.

The musician passed away from heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida, on Monday (02.06.08) aged 79, his spokesperson Susan Clary confirmed.

Diddley had been in ill health for some time. He suffered a heart attack last August, just a few months after having a stroke while on tour.

The guitarist, who was born Otha Ellas Bates, was famous for making his own square guitars, his distinctive live performances and his trademark dark glasses and black hat.

Diddley - whose father died shortly after he was born and was raised by his mother's cousin Gussie McDaniel after his 16-year-old mother could not care for him - claimed he got his iconic name from his school friends shortly after he moved from Mississippi to Chicago when he was six.

The blues star, whose name was changed to Ellas McDaniel after Gussie became his legal guardian, previously said: "I don't know where they got it from, but the kids in grammar school gave me that name."

In the 1950s, Diddley was one of a host of musicians, including Chuck Berry and Little Richard, credited as being a founding father of the rock 'n' roll revolution due to his distinctive interpretation of rhythm and blues and gospel.

He influenced a host of bands and artists with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and The Clash among many citing him as an influence.

The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. paid tribute to Diddley, saying: "I think we are all fans of Bo Diddley's rhythm and style. So many artists have borrowed his simple, but powerful rhythms, his chocolate bar-shaped guitar. Bo Diddley, may you rest in piece and live on through future musicians."

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998 in recognition of his incredible contribution to music.

His most famous songs include 'Bo Diddley', 'Who Do You Love?', 'Uncle John', 'Say Man' and 'Ride On Josephine'.

© BANG Media International

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