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Digital Subscriptions > Vintage Rock > FREE Sample Issue > READY STEADY BO!

READY STEADY BO!

THE INSPIRATION BEHIND MANY A UK R&B BAND, BO DIDDLEY WAS THE MAN WHO GAVE US THAT IRRESISTIBLE BEAT. BO DIED IN 2008, BUT IN 1996 PAUL TRYNKA FOUND HIM ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL

Bo Diddley sits back in his comfortable chair in a plush West London hotel. The man who embodied gangster chic back in 1950s Chicago is slightly more portly than he was in his prime, but the black stetson and his stream-of-consciousness conversation still mark him out as a man far removed from the norm.

Although often bracketed with a generation of Chicago bluesers, Bo Diddley – born Otha Ellas Bates in 1928, renamed Ellas McDaniel upon adoption – has always been a maverick, a true original whose influence can be found in innumerable obscure nooks and crannies of rock’n’roll. It was Diddley who first coined the memorable stop-start guitar riff that has been used as the basis for countless songs. Diddley’s influence in the funk and R&B field is even more pervasive; for instance, his guitar sound on his early Checker records of the ’50s formed a basis for the distinctive style of Jimmy Nolen, later to make his mark with James Brown. Plus, if you were looking for a single candidate as the prototype rap artist, Diddley makes a convincing contender, thanks to early singles that revolve around a steamroller rhythm and catchy lyrics that revel in the power of the spoken word. Then, of course, there’s the shave-and-a-haircut Bo Diddley beat.

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About Vintage Rock

Vintage Rock: Winter issue 2011 features: 50 Greatest Rockabilly tracks - Prepare yourself for the greatest party tape in history with our essential cuts. The Roots of Rock’n’Roll - The definitive lowdown on how it all began The stars - Fantastic features on Elvis, Hank Marvin, Jet Harris, Carl Perkins, Ike Turner and many more Rockabilly Hair - Tope stylist Mr Ducktail tells all, ably assisted by Levi and Bernie Dexter All Mama’s Children - News, reviews and events for the incorrigibly beat-minded