Lovers Lane
In The Flesh

3. Bo Diddley

| March 31, 2008

The 20 All-Time Greatest Chicago Guitarists


3. Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley was one of those who took blues by the hand and led it into rock. Diddley’s music includes every aspect of rock: the fuzzy, effect-wielding guitar, humor, volume (Diddley didn’t necessarily play loud, but he always sounds like he was), sex, DIY aesthetic (the man built his first guitar, for heaven’s sake), songwriting, rebellion, and – of course – rhythm. Not just any rhythm, either: that rhythm. His songs from the late ’50s/early ’60s are indelible moments of rock: “I’m A Man,” “Bo Diddley,” “Bring It To Jerome,” “Who Do You Love.” There wasn’t a British Invasion band worth their name who didn’t cover a Bo Diddley track, and there has not been a rocker since who hasn’t used the Bo Diddley beat. Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time put the former Ellas Otha Bates at 20, but his influence is so wide and deep that Uncut magazine ranked the 1958 release of Diddley’s self-titled debut album as one of the “100 Music, Movie & TV Moments That Changed the World.”

— M.S. Dodds

20 – 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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