I don't normally do this sort of thing, but I feel I should say a few words about Bo Diddley. It's not because I had any personal tie with him. Although I did see him perform one time and that in itself is kind of an amazing thing. Not that I got to see him perform, mind you, but that I got to see him perform at the Ohio State student union for 10 bucks. Think about that. At that point, Bo was already in his mid-60s, and I saw him, a rock and roll legend, for a 10-spot at a student unition.
The reason I feel compelled to write this is because today, we lost something more than just a musician. He was right there at the beginning of this thing we call rock and roll, and yet somehow he is kind of the forgotten man in the rock and roll pantheon. Not to take anything away from Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley, and everyone else at the forefront, but rock and roll would not be what it is without the efforts of Mr. Diddley.
What is unusual about Bo Diddley is that he wasn't someone who generated a lot of hits. In fact, a lot of people probably couldn't even name one of his tunes. But the truth is, he did something far more important than generating hits. He originated a sound: the "Bo Diddley beat." And every kid that has ever picked up a guitar to play rock and roll owes a little something to the man with the box guitar. Often, people have tried to imitate his sound. In fact, that beat he developed has become a cornerstone of rock and roll. Yet, after 79 years of life and decades of performing, you can't honestly say that anyone sounds like Bo Diddley. And probably no one ever will match his sound exactly. Bo Diddley was a man (as he declared in his #1 hit), a gunslinger, and a rock and roll pioneer. He truly was an American original.