"Bo Diddley" is a rhythm and blues and rock and roll song first recorded and sung by Bo Diddley at the Universal Recording Studio in Chicago and released on the Chess Records subsidiary Checker Records in 1955. It became an immediate hit single that stayed on the R&B charts for a total of 18 weeks, 2 of those weeks at #1, and seven more weeks than its flipside (the B-side, "I'm a Man"). It was the first recording to introduce African rhythms into rock and roll directly by using the patted juba beat. It was Bo Diddley's first recording and his first hit single. The song is featured on many of Bo Diddley's compilation albums including His Best.
In 2012 the A and B-side pair were added to the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings.
The song is rhythmically similar to hambone, a technique of dancing and slapping various parts of the body to create a rhythm and song. It is lyrically similar to the traditional lullaby "Hush Little Baby". When Bo Diddley started playing with it, his electric guitar amplified the patted juba with his backup musicians on maracas and drums unifying the rhythm. This combination of rock and roll, African rhythms and sanctified guitar chord shouts was a true innovation and is often called a Bo Diddley Beat.
He first titled his version "Uncle John" but before he recorded it, he changed the title to his own nickname Bo Diddly, with an "e" added to the song's title and his professional name by one of the Chess brothers.
Three weeks after Billboard magazine announced the release of "Bo Diddley", on April 30, 1955, the paper announced two remakes of "Bo Diddley" by the Joe Reisman Orchestra and by Jean Dinning. The Harmonicats released their own version, an instrumental, a few weeks later. "Bo Diddley" went on to became the 17th best selling R&B record of 1955, according to Billboard.
Legacy and awards
This first single was called a "double-sided monster" by All-Music Guide reviewer Richie Unterberger. "Bo Diddley" was infused with waves of tremolo guitar, set to a children's chant. "I'm a Man" was a bump-and-grind shuffle, with a powerful blues riff woven throughout. The outcome was a new kind of guitar-based, blues and R&B-drenched, rock and roll. The song was voted #62 on Rolling Stone magazine's list, "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song is also a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500
Most songs he wrote, and guitars were his designs
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