Bo Diddley, 1928-2008

Bo Diddley, 1928-2008

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Bo Diddley died today of heart failure. He’d had a stroke on May 13, following an earlier heart attack in 2007. According to Wikipedia, he performed for the final time last week, pretty spontaneously on the occasion of the unveiling of his plaque on the National Blues Trail.

One of the most influential figures in American music, Diddley bridged the gap between blues and early rock ‘n’ roll, developing many of the concepts that became rock. He trademarked a rhumba-influenced chugging guitar sound, derivatives of which can be heard everywhere from Bowie’s “Panic in Detroit” to the Stooges “1969” to George Michael’s “Faith.” Perhaps the most commercally successful use of that rhythm was Diddley’s own “Who Do You Love,” though it was only really successful when sung by other people.

Flights of angels, pal.

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