Bo Diddley had the beat. Take his onomatopoeic name for a start—it was so good, he used it in a dozen different song titles: “Bo Diddley,” “Diddley Daddy,” “Bo Diddley Is a Lover,” “Bo’s a Lumberjack.” He chopped up rock ’n’ roll’s square 4/4 rhythm into jagged pieces with his rectangular guitar, hired a maracas player called Jerome Green to add a counterrhythm, and rarely bothered with chord changes. Bo claimed to have come across his patented beat while trying to play Gene Autry’s “(I’ve Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle,” though it more closely recalled the rhumba rhythm of the Andrews Sisters’ 1945 hit “Rum and Coca Cola.”
Among the future hits to feature or adapt the Bo Diddley rhythm:
Elvis Presley’s “His Latest Flame”
Them’s “Mystic Eyes”
The Who’s “Magic Bus”
The Stooges’ “1969”
David Bowie’s “Panic in Detroit”
George Michael’s “Faith”
and the Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now.”
That’s not including covers of Bo’s songs, which made up a good percentage of repertoires on the British R&B circuit in 1963 and ’64: “Mona,” “Pretty Thing,” “Road Runner,” “I’m a Man,” “Who Do You Love,” and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover.”
From Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé by Bob Stanley, out now in hardcover and ebook.
Happy Birthday Jim McCarty!
James Stanley McCarty was born July 25, 1943, in Liverpool. McCarty has recorded for over 40 years, but is best known as a founding member and drummer for the psychedelic blues-rock innovators the Yardbirds. Learn more about this 1992 inductee at the Library and Archives.
Video: The Yardbirds, with McCarty on drums, perform “I’m a Man” live on German television in 1967.
This guy crashed over 50 music festivals—including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and Coachella—over the past four years, and lived to tell the tale in a new documentary called No Cameras Allowed.
On this day, July 25th, in 1958: Thurston Moore was born in Florida but raised in Bethel, CT, next door to my sister’s house.
Today’s soundtrack: Sonic Youth, early Branca, and Chelsea Light Moving.
Today’s musical instrument: a heavily modified Jazzmaster with a drum stick jammed into the strings.
Today’s graffiti: “Sonic Youth is neither”
Today’s quote: “Kids think of us as being totally over the hill.”
Today’s tattoo: http://tinyurl.com/lxtaqga
The 30th birthday of Purple Rain. It’s no Graffiti Bridge, but every movie can’t be perfect…Thirty years ago this week, Prince’s mythmaking movie showed the world a new philosophy of what it meant to be a pop artist. NPR’s Michele Norris and Eric Deggans remember the moment vividly.