Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bo Diddley 1928-2008

I have a pet theory that rock 'n' roll is really autism made infectious. It brings you to a place where repetition leads to ecstasy, and the only possible physical response is to surrender oneself to the rhythm. No one exemplifies this for me better than Bo Diddley. He is most famous for his unique super-charged rhythmic riffs that carry the entire song. The vocals are often just accents. The fact that many of his songs contain his own name seems to add a child-like weirdness to his act. Here he is, singing his trademark song, "Bo Diddley":

Yes, it's almost idiotically repetitive. But so is sex, and no one complains about the repetitiveness there.


Anonymous Miguel said...

I guess i hadn't realized but one of the great features of the Bo Diddley beat (maybe made most famous in Not Fade Away) is that the chords don't change, but as you say, the repetition is quite ecstatic.

I recently got a great 13 CD set called The Chess Story, with music from Chess Records from 1947-1975, including lots of Bo Diddley.

An IM conversation I had today:

jeez! i can't believe me downloading those songs killed bo diddley - i feel terrible

rip, to a man who never got properly paid
I think it was Chris Smither who had a song "pay Bo Diddly". He used the BD rhythm and wanted to give Bo songwriting credits and royalties. Bo declined because he thought, just maybe, he was being taken again.

that is poignant

I think it's a live recording from the bottomline where Smither gives the run down on how cheated Bo Diddley was

9:42 AM, June 03, 2008  

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