Diddley is known for his "Bo Diddley Beat," which is a variation on the hambone rhythm. Some of the famous songs that used variations on this beat include "She's The One
" by Bruce Springsteen, "Not Fade Away
" by Buddy Holly and "I Want Candy
" by Bow Wow Wow.
His first single was originally called "Uncle John," but his record company thought the lyrics were too raunchy, so Diddley wrote it about himself and named the song "Bo Diddley." It was the first of many times he mentioned himself in his songs.
He was once an amateur boxer.
He was introduced to the MTV generation when he played pool against George Thorogood in Thorogood's video for "Bad to the Bone
When he hired Peggy Jones to play guitar in his touring band, he became the first major artist to use a female lead guitarist.
He was trained on classical violin, but switched to guitar after receiving one for Christmas. Blues legend John Lee Hooker was a huge influence.
His birth name is Ellas Otha Bates. He became Ellas McDaniel when he was adopted by his mother's cousin.
While he was a huge influence on Rock artists like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, Diddley wasn't a great businessman, and was often underpaid for his efforts. You can't trademark a beat, so he didn't get royalties on the songs he influenced.
In the '80s, he starred in a popular Nike commercial featuring the famous athlete Bo Jackson. The theme of the Nike campaign was "Bo Knows," and in this commercial, Jackson is seen excelling in various sports while famous athletes say "Bo knows football" or "Bo knows basketball" while Diddley's music plays. At the end, Jackson picks up a guitar and plays something dreadful, at which point Diddley says, "Bo, you don't know Diddley."
He appears in the movies Trading Places
, Blues Brothers 2000
, Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!
and Crush Proof
Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above