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The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection: His Best

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Editors’ Notes

As a 20-track summary of a legendary career, The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection serves its purpose. Bo Diddley was one of rock n’ roll’s most influential originators, pioneering a rhythm (“Shave and a haircut, two bits”) and enforcing a sound of tough drums and tremolo-ed guitar in the mid 1950s that was raw and amazingly expressive within its deliberately limited range. While Diddley made a name for himself by inserting his name into many of his early tracks (“Bo Diddley,” “Diddley Daddy,” “Hey! Bo Diddley”), he also wrote a number of other tunes (“Who Do You Love,” “Before You Accuse Me”) that have become rock and bar band standards. His guitar playing is severely underrated and his skills as a vocalist should not be overlooked either. Fellow traveler and songwriter Willie Dixon gave Diddley the quick-witted “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover.” His maracas player Jerome Greene contributes the great braggadocio anthem “Bring it to Jerome” and their repartee through “Say Man” shows just how loose and free these boys could swing it.

Customer Reviews

required listening

if you don't like this you are crazy. this is a man

the one!

if there is one to get, THIS IS THE ONE!

Top This!

A whole lexicon of guitar style, the influence of which you can hear from surf music to Dylan to Weezer, and a lot in between and beyond. If "Who Do You Love?" (yep, a rap song!!!) doesn't give you chills check to see if you got a pulse. God bless you Mr. Diddley!


Born: December 30, 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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