Magazine article Newsweek

Rock and Roll's Founding Father

Magazine article Newsweek

Rock and Roll's Founding Father

Article excerpt

Bo Diddley, 72, Musician

With those big black glasses and that guitar shaped like a cigar box, Bo Diddley just radiated strange. But a good kind of strange--the kind that made you want to work your way through the crowd and hang onto the edge of the stage all night long while he played.

Diddley (he got the name from high-school classmates; he was born Ellas Bates) was not a happy camper while he lived, so there is not a chance in a hundred that he went gently last week when he died of heart failure. He was always ornery, especially when it came to getting his due. (If you'd invented as much as he did and didn't get the credit, you'd be ornery, too.) In Diddley's case, he thought he'd invented nothing less than rock and roll. He was out there before Elvis or Chuck Berry or Little Richard, tearing it up with an electric guitar and a trademark beat that landed somewhere between a shuffle and the clave rhythm of Latin music. …

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