Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yesterday, I saw the news and then Starrlight wrote and Travis wrote. My friends understand my love of music...

December 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008

If you had not heard, yesterday morning the great Bo Diddley passed away. He was 79 years young and left us due to heart failure at his home in Archer, Fla., spokeswoman Susan Clary said. He had suffered a heart attack in August, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. Doctors said the stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

Mr. Diddley was known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in Los Angeles in 1996, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards.

In 1989 Mr. Diddley was introduced to a new generation when he appeared in a Nike commercial, telling baseball and football star Bo Jackson, "Bo, You Don't Know Diddley."

The man who would become Bo Diddley was born Ellas Otha Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi. His mother, who was about 15, asked her first cousin, Gussie McDaniel, to raise the child. Diddley never knew his father.

After Gussie McDaniel moved her family to Chicago during the Great Depression in 1935, she changed the child's last name to Bates McDaniel. Ellas McDaniel attended public school, where he learned how to box. At one point, he dreamed of becoming a prizefighter.

Like other great blues and rhythm-and-blues artists, Mr. Diddley first exposure to music came from church, in this case the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's South Side. He learned to play the violin and the trombone. At age 12, Mr. Diddley took up the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker's 1949 rhythm-and-blues hit, "Boogie Chillen."

"Diddley claimed that playing the violin influenced his muted-string, choke-neck style of rhythm -- an early forerunner of funk that can be heard on songs like 'Pretty Thing,'" the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame says in its official Bo Diddley biography.

Mr. Diddley's influence was felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Buddy Holly borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song "Not Fade Away."

The Rolling Stones' bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964.

Mr. Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.
"He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic," E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

Growing up, Mr. Diddley said he had no musical idols, and he wasn't entirely pleased that others drew on his innovations.
"I don't like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it," he said. "I don't have any idols I copied after."

"They copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up. It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there," he said.

Despite his success, Mr. Diddley claimed he only received a small portion of the money he made during his career. Partly as a result, he continued to tour and record music until his stroke. Between tours, he made his home near Gainesville in north Florida.
"Seventy ain't nothing but a damn number," he told The Associated Press in 1999. "I'm writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain't quit yet."

Mr. Diddley, like other artists of his generations, was paid a flat fee for his recordings and said he received no royalty payments on record sales. He also said he was never paid for many of his performances.

"I am owed. I've never got paid," he said. "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun."

One of the great sins perpetrated by the record labels was this type of injustice.

As our good friend Travis said in one of his emails "There are no replacements for legends like these. There are new blues musicians, but when the originals go they go forever." So very true.

I got to see Mr. Diddley back when I was in Rochester. It was the early 70's and Mr. Diddley could rock a joint like very few I have seen live.

Rest In Peace Mr. Diddley. You may have left us, but the brilliant music you created will live with us forever.

Enjoy Mr. Diddley along with some of the artists who adapted his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as "shave and a haircut, two bits."

Resources used: The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Bloomberg News and the Associated Press.

Coming up this week on DR. BLOGSTEIN’S RADIO HAPPY HOUR:
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Tuesday June 3rd at 9PM ET and forever archived at BlogTalkRadio.

rck_crwbr.jpgDr. Blogstein and Dangerous Lee welcome Mark McGraw, co-star of one of this season’s top indie films, The Sensei, being screened at The Hoboken International Film Festival.

You may know McGraw’s dad and you probably know his brother and sister-in-law but this week, we meet Mark. We’ll also learn about the film, the film festival and his work with HGTV.

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All that, plus, we’ll meet our new film critic, Jack “The Movie Maniac” as he’ll tell us what he thought of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Vinny Bond drags his Big Leather Couch into the Radio Happy Hour Lounge to chat live with the listeners, Justin the Weatherman and we’ll take your calls at 646-652-4804.

Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM ET. The Radio Happy Hour Lounge-a live chat room during show time-is a whole new reason to make sure you listen live! It’s the show within the show!

25 Of Your Sparks

  1. Dana Says:
  2. You know, it was *you* that I thought of when I read this yesterday. Huge loss, amazing legend!

  3. Anndi Says:
  4. My Honey e-mailed me to tell me the news.. very sad. We both remember seeing his tribute in the RRHOF together.

  5. RIP Mr. Bo Diddley, you set a standard.

  6. RW Says:
  7. I really hated to hear that Bo past on. I knew you would write a righteous tribute for him Vin, thank you.

  8. There's one more line of melody missing from the music of Life. RIP, Bo.

  9. leelee Says:
  10. Yeah, what Dana said I thought to myself...oh no How will Vinny take this?

    I'll look at it as "another member just got inducted to the Heavenly Rock Band"..what an amazing group!

  11. Tug Says:
  12. Very well done Bond, as usual...RIP Bo.

    I did not realize Tug's son was on HGTV - that's my fave channel - I'll have to pay more attention now!

  13. Travis is indeed right, we are nearing the end of the line of the men and women who gave us The Blues and by virtue of that Rock and Roll and the soundtracks to all our lives.

  14. DANA: He was amazing..thanks

    ANNDI: Yes it is sad

    SARGE: He did indeed

    ROGER: You are welcome Sir

    SONGBIRD: Perfect statement

    LEELEE: That is one amazing band and a thought for a post too

    TUG: See..now you can check him out! Thanks

  15. Dr. A Says:
  16. Genius. 'nuff said. RIP.

  17. What a nice send up of Bo Didley, Vinny! I'm just glas you wanted to participate in Ruby Tuesday, Vin...yes maybe next week! :D

  18. You were right we are on the same page. But, I gotta say, this is more impressive. Great work!!

  19. j Says:
  20. He had a long, talented life. Prayers go out to his family and fans for their loss.


  21. DR. A.: That is all that is needed

    THE TEACH: Mary TY and yes, maybe next week

    BUD: Thanks...I just added a few more sentences then you did

    JENNIFER: He did...but it could have been longer.

  22. Jeff B Says:
  23. Knowing how "in tune" you are with rock and blues, I knew I'd find a nice tribute to one of the legends here.

    He may not have wanted people to copy him, but what an influence he had to so many.

  24. DrillerAA Says:
  25. We share a similar love for music. I just never pursued it like you and turned it into a profession. As a young teenager in the early sixties, I found myself drawn to Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Johnny Rivers, and other blues, rythum & blues, and blues rock artists. I was probably the only thirteen year old white boy in my neighborhood that owned "What'd I Say", "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music", and Bo Diddley".
    Great people, great music, and as Travis said, these originals will not pass our way again.

  26. Kb Says:
  27. Nice, Vinny! Everyone needs a Diddley in their life. Thanks for a terrific tribute.

  28. JEFF: THAT is so true jeff...he inspired so so many

    DRILLERAA: Now that IS a collection of music...

    KB: Coming from you that sounds deliciously dirty!

  29. Travis Cody Says:
  30. As I've been doing a little more study of Bo Diddley, I realize how much influence he had on music. It's a shame he's not more widely known...more mainstream.

    Excellent tribute Sir...as I have come to expect.

  31. Meribah Says:
  32. I have to thank you, Bond, for introducing me to so many artists and songs I had never been familiar with before. It sounds like Mr. Didley was quite the innovator and musician. Shame on the greedy record labels for exploiting such a talent! May Mr. Didley rest in peace.

  33. Lu' Says:
  34. I read about Bo this afternoon, R.I.P.

    You know I don't think there is any way that bat is your graduation picture you cutie :)

  35. TRAVIS: Thank you Sir...his influence is so underrated

    MERI: I am so happy I can bring some musical knowledge your way dear

    LU" ummm..Huh? That Bat? Graduation picture? ummm huh? But you called me cute...hehehehe

  36. Sparky Duck Says:
  37. Bo Diddley and Bo Jackson, classic

  38. I just caught Bo with George Thorogood in Bad To The Bone. Have not seen that video in years.

  39. katherine. Says:
  40. an amazing talent... thanks for all the insight into his life


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