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Bo Diddley

Gretsch Legend

Artist Bio

A rock ‘n’ roll legend and founding father, Bo Diddley will be forever remembered for his signature beat and classic early hits, which fused rhythm and blues with rock ‘n’ roll in an infectious sound and style that influenced generations of guitarists and songwriters.

Born Ellas Bates McDaniel in McComb, Miss., on Dec. 30, 1928, Diddley played violin as a child. His family moved to Chicago when Diddley was 7 years old; he is said to have started playing guitar after hearing 1949 John Lee Hooker R&B hit “Boogie Chillen.”

He recorded demos in 1954 of eponymous single “Bo Diddley” and his immortal “I’m A Man,” the former of which featured the distinctive rumba-like rhythm that came to be known as “the Bo Diddley beat.” Diddley re-recorded both songs at Chess Records; the record was released in March 1955 and became a number-one hit. Subsequent hit singles included “Who Do You Love?” (1956), “Pretty Thing” (1956), “Hey Bo Diddley” (1957), “Say Man” (1959) and “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover” (1962). He also penned 1956 Mickey and Sylvia hit “Love Is Strange.” From 1958 to 1963, Chess subsidiary Checker Records released 11 Bo Diddley albums.

(The above is an excerpt from the Gretsch Guitars website Artist pages. Visit for the full artist profile on Bo Diddley.)

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