The name Ellas McDaniel will mean nothing to most ordinary music lovers, but everyone knows the stage name of this black guy. He entered the history of modern music as Bo Diddley , becoming one of the founders of rock and roll and enriched it with original rhythms, unique transitions and other bold innovations.
Diddley topped the charts with his first single. The song, which he boldly named after himself, became a major hit. Let’s remember how the legendary composition Bo Diddley was written.
Bo Diddey Song Story
Bo Diddley’s lyrics are based on the traditional lullaby Hush Little Baby. This is a folk song that originated somewhere in the South of the United States.
Musically, the composition is sustained in the so-called hambone style. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that the performer sets the rhythm by clapping, stomping and dancing.
The riff used in the track would later be called the Bo Diddley Beat, but it was not composed by the musician. It originated much earlier, on the plantations of slaves brought to America from West Africa.
Release and achievements
At first, Bo Diddley called her Uncle John Chess Records management rejected the original version of the song, considering it inappropriate for a white audience. Diddley rewrote the lyrics and named the track after himself. The new version suited the label owners.
The composition was recorded on March 2, 1955 at Universal Studios in Chicago. In April, the track Bo Diddley was released as a single with I’m a Man on the back. Later, the famous reviewer Richie Unterberger will call the legendary record a “two-sided monster”.
Contrary to popular belief, the song Bo Diddley did not hit the Billboard Hot 100, but topped the rhythm and blues chart.
On November 20, 1955, Bo Diddley performed the song on the Ed Sullivan Show. Ed Sullivan asked to sing Sixteen Tons, but the musician insisted on this song. They say that is why he was not invited to the show anymore.
Watch the video of Bo Diddley.
Bo Diddley has been featured in several notable rankings including:
- “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” (Rolling Stone)
- “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame),
- Grammy Hall of Fame,
- US Library of Congress National Recording Registry,
- Blues Hall of Fame.
Buddy Holly recorded Bo Diddley in 1956. For several years, his version was released as a single, which climbed to fourth place in the British charts.
In 1962, the song Bo Diddley was introduced by The Shadows.
Later, Bo Diddley was performed by other famous musicians, including Janis Joplin.
Bo Diddley Lyrics by Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring
If that diamond ring don’t shine
He gonna take it to a private eye
If that private eye can’t see
He’d better not take the ring from me
Bo Diddley caught a nanny goat
To make his pretty baby a Sunday coat
Bo Diddley caught a bear cat
To make his pretty baby a Sunday hat
Mojo come to my house, ya black cat bone
Take my baby away from home
Ugly ole mojo, where ya bin
Up your house, and gone again
Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley have you heard?
My pretty baby said she wasn’t for it
Lyrics of Bo Diddley Alternate
Bo Diddley bought his baby a diamond ring.
If the diamond in the ring won’t shine
He will take him to a private detective.
If the private detective doesn’t figure it out,
He better not take my ring.
Bo Diddley bought a goat
To make your cutie a Sunday coat.
Bo Diddley caught a panda
To make your cutie a Sunday hat.
A talisman appeared in my house, the bone of a black cat,
And took my baby out of the house.
Old, ugly talisman, where have you been?
Upstairs in the house and disappeared again.
Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, did you hear?
My cutie said it’s not for her.