Elias McDaniel (1928-2008) moved from Mississippi up to Chicago as a young boy, where childhood pals gave him the nickname "Bo Diddley." The name stuck as a moniker through some early years as a fighter and onto the stage as a musician. Bo dreamed about pounding out traditional drum patterns and, inspired by John Lee Hooker, soon took to the guitar as a percussive instrument. This was the era in Chicago when Chess and VeeJay were pumping the airwaves with the sounds of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Jimmy Reed, and newcomer Chuck Berry. Bo knew that he couldn't do what they did on the guitar, so he went back into his corner (as he puts it in interviews) and figured out his own trade-mark approach to playing. That drummer instinct came through strong and we have what is now commonly called "The Bo Diddley Beat" - a Rumba-style rhythm that added the Hambone playfulness of banging out beats and rhymes. Bo didn't invent it, per se, but he certainly popularized it. Spy Vibers can hear some really raw iterations of the beat in the fife and drum music of northern Mississippi, for example.
Bo's side-guitar player left for the service in 1956 and was replaced by a female musician named Peggy Jones ("Lady Bo"). She established a swinging stage vibe with Bo Diddley and is known as one of the first female lead guitarists. The uncommon site of their male/female act, accentuated by the two rectangular guitars, was quite sizzling (and even erotic). Lady Bo was replaced in 1962 by Norma-Jean Wofford ("The Duchess"/above), who continued to boogie with Diddley as a rocking lady strummer. Together they made quite a few television appearances between 1962-1966 that captured their contagious, throbbing beat and cool moves- not to mention the stage-side Go Go dancers and teen audience! Check out some throbbing Bo Diddley beat below. In other news, check out my episodes of the Cocktail Nation radio show, where I introduce classic spy films/TV series and play soundtracks and rare cuts: Episode #1 (Danger Man) and Episode #2 (The 10th Victim), Epsiode #3 (On Her Majesty's Secret Service), Episode #4 (Roger Moore/The Saint), and Episode #5 (The Avengers). Episode #6 (The Prisoner). Enjoy!
Selected Spy Vibe Posts: Billy Bragg Skiffle, Elvis 68, Jack Kirby The Prisoner, Casino Royale Concert, Review: The Prisoner Vol 2, Interview: The Prisoner Essential Guide, Maud Russell Mottisfont, Spy Vibe Radio 4, Batman Gallants, Adam West R.I.P., Village Triangle, Roger Moore R.I.P., Spy Vibe Radio 3, Sgt Pepper 50th, Satanik Kriminal OST, 60s Overdrive, Make Love in London, Spy Vibe Radio 2, Spy Vibe Radio 1, James Bond Strips, Propaganda Mabuse, Interview: Police Surgeon, XTC Avengers, 1966 Pep Spies, Batman Book Interview, Exclusive Fleming Interview, Avengers Comic Strips, Robert Vaughn RIP, UNCLE Fashions, Thunderbirds Are Pop!, Interview:Spy Film Guide, Lost Avengers Found, The Callan File, Mission Impossible 50th, Green Hornet 50th, Star Trek 50th, Portmeirion Photography 1, Filming the Prisoner, Gaiman McGinnins Project, Ian Fleming Grave, Revolver at 50, Karen Romanko Interview, Mod Tales 2, Umbrella Man: Patrick Macnee, New Beatles Film, The Curious Camera, Esterel Fashion 1966, Exclusive Ian Ogilvy Interview, 007 Tribute Covers, The Phantom Avon novels return, Ian Fleming Festival, Argoman Design, Sylvia Anderson R.I.P., Ken Adam R.I.P., George Martin R.I.P., The New Avengers Comics, Trina Robbins Interview, The Phantom at 80, 007 Manga, Avengerworld Book, Diana Rigg Auto Show, The Prisoner Audio Drama Review.