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The Definitive Collection

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Album Review

Universal's 2007 set The Definitive Collection is a retitled reissue of the previously released 1997 comp His Best. No matter the title, this is an excellent 20-track roundup of Bo basics. To be sure, not everything great that he did is here by any means — a bunch of great singles are missing, such as the crushing boogie of "Diddly Wah Diddy," and it has few of his really funny, really gonzo, really out-there singles (for those, turn to the superb, absolutely essential Chess U.K. double-disc set The Story of Bo Diddley). Still, this presents the bulk of the classics ("Bo Diddley," "I'm a Man," "Who Do You Love?," "Bring It to Jerome," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," "Before You Accuse Me," "Road Runner," "Crackin' Up") in a thoroughly entertaining fashion, making it a good summary for most listeners.


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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