Bo Diddley

Who was Bo Diddley?

Ellas McDaniel, professionally known as Bo Diddley was a crossover artist. He played the guitar with a drum like rhythm. Bo Diddley’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show helped put Chess Records, his recording label based in Chicago, on the map for R&B artists and R&B music.

Background Story

Bo Diddley was born on December 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi. He was one of the earliest rhythm and blues pioneers. He had impressive and catchy rhythms and guitar work. At a young age, he studied the violin. Then after listening music by Blues artist John Lee Hooker he started to play the guitar, instead. Diddley attended vocational school in Chicago for a time frame, where he learned how to play these instruments. But he eventually dropped out of the school.

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How did he become famous?

After  he dropped out of vocational school Diddley started playing at neighborhood bars in Chicago. By 1955, he scored a recording contract with Checker. This was a subsidiary of the Chess Records. a blues recording label. This same year he released his first  R&B single and it was titled “Bo Diddley”. This is where is stage name was derived.  This song along with his song “I’m a Man.” allowed him to become closer and closer to earning a spot on the top 40 charts.  And it was in 1956 with his song “Pretty Things” that allowed him to reach this spot. 

His Career

He made television appearances; he went on tour; and, he was still recording new material. Some of his songs include “Who Do You Love,” “Mona,” and “Before You Accuse Me.”Diddley  was a popular R&B artist throughout the mid 1950s and early 1960s until the R&B genre changed. Despite this he remained a great live performer.

Awards and Recognition

In 1996, Bo Diddley was the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in 1996.  It was this year that he scored his last album entitled, Man Amongst Men.

Summary of Author's Opinion

I was glad that I was given this opportunity to study Bo Diddley. Throughout my research, I discovered that I was actually familiar with his work this is why I feel like it is important to develop this knowledge for artists of the Rhythm and Blues genre. Therefore, I would just like to reiterate how thankful I am to be able to write this article.


“Bo Diddley.”, A&E Networks Television, 2 Apr. 2014, 

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