Bo Diddley, correctly, never felt he got his due as one of the founding fathers of rock n’ roll.
Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley get most of the credit for what became the broader version of rock n’ roll, but as fellow legend Fats Dominos, said, what people called rock n’ roll had been played for 15 years in New Orleans, which pushes it back to the late ‘30s or early ‘40s.
But no one did it quite like Bo Diddley.
Born Elias Bates in Mississippi, he became Elias McDaniel when a relative raised him before becoming Bo Diddley.
And before creating what became known as simply the Bo Diddly Beat, he was a violinist but found his destiny soon enough.
Influenced by John Lee Hooker and Louis Jordan, Bo Diddley played one song in a dressing room on the Ed Sullivan Show and was invited to perform it.
Apparently though he saw “Bo Diddley” on a cue card and did his self-title hit, which made Sullivan furious. So if this doesn't seem like the sort of thing you would have expected to see on the Sullivan Show in the 1950s, well, it was never supposed to happen.
But it did, and it’s great. The basic beat he laid down has never gone away and has influenced generations of musicians from Holly to George Thorogood to Adam And and Bow Wow Wow.
He never got the credit he deserved, but his sound could be the last one standing.