Hey! Bo Diddley (1957)
The original Checker Records studio recording doesn’t give “Hey! Bo Diddley” its full rein, toning down the frantically burning loins, souped-up sex drive feeling implicit in the barnyard theme and the Afro-Cuban beat.
Bo Diddley done had a farm
On that farm he had some women
Women here, women there
Women, women, women everywhere
Punky, punkier, punkiest
The existing live versions allow us to listen and watch the maniacal work. It is virtually impossible not to start shaking some part of your body to that beat, which is paired perfectly with the backing sound of the rhythm guitar shuffle behind Diddley’s cranking, grating lead.
His side-woman in the early to mid-’60s was Norma-Jean Wofford, better known as the “Duchess Of Diddley. SongMango has a detailed article on her career here.
The original shredder – Live in ’65
If there are half a dozen seminal guitarists in early rock, Diddley stands like a redwood among them. It’s a testimony to their makers that his instruments never actually burst into flame.
Oddly enough, the studio backing vocals were done by The Flamingos, a Doo-Wop group whose renown was otherwise built on high-end, but sudsy, ‘50s slow songs such as “I Only Have Eyes For You” and the serviceman-says-goodbye-before-shipping-out grinder, “Lovers Never Say Goodbye.”
Feeling low? Stick your head out the window and yell “Heyyyy, Bo Diddley” into the night sky.
- Bo Diddley took his stage name from the diddley bow, a one-string instrument that originated in West Africa and was transplanted to America by captive slaves.
- The “Bo Diddley Riff” is one of the foundations of Rock-N-Roll.