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Rock N' Roll Legends: Bo Diddley

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Album Review

With his patented "shave & a haircut-two bits" rhythm, which he actually didn't invent but did forever bestow with his name, Bo Diddley created as insular a body of work in the late 1950s and early '60s as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, or any of the other great nascent rockers of the era. This set is a nice introduction to it all, and it includes several variations on his classic rhythm, most notably the lead track that started it all, "Bo Diddley," the immortal and oft-covered "Who Do You Love," the brilliant riff song "Roadrunner," the effervescent "Mona," and the almost ballad "Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself)," each of which also show how good a songwriter Bo Diddley was, and it's that writing, really, that makes everything work here. Oh, and then there's that rhythm. That helps a bit, too.


Born: 30 December 1928 in McComb, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

He only had a few hits in the 1950s and early '60s, but as Bo Diddley sang, "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover." You can't judge an artist by his chart success, either, and Diddley produced greater and more influential music than all but a handful of the best early rockers. The Bo Diddley beat -- bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp -- is one of rock & roll's bedrock rhythms, showing up in the work of Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, and even pop-garage knock-offs like the Strangeloves' 1965 hit "I Want...
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