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7 Fun Facts About Bo Diddley

7 Fun Facts About Bo Diddley

02/06/2023 09:42

This Black History Month let’s take a moment to remember one of the most influential and iconic blues musicians in history: Bo Diddley. The man behind some of the greatest hits of all time such as “Who Do You Love” and his signature song, “Bo Diddley,” he was an innovator who brought something completely new to the music scene. Here are 7 fun facts about this legendary musician you may not have heard.

Bo Diddley made a name for himself recognizably playing rectangular guitars

1. He Was a Master at Playing Multiple Instruments

Bo Diddley was not only a master singer and songwriter – he was also a multi-instrumentalist who could play the guitar, harmonica, drums and maracas with equal skill. Bo Diddley used to take his own drums with him to recording studios to ensure that he could achieve the sound he wanted for his recordings. This allowed him to create unique rhythms that have become hugely popular in African-American music.

2. He Was More Than Just a Musician

Bo Diddley was also an entrepreneur who started his own record label (Chess Records) in 1955. The label was based out of Chicago and went on to become one of the most successful labels in history. It released some of Bo Diddley’s greatest hits, including “Who Do You Love?” and “Mona” as well as recordings by Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and other prominent blues musicians from the 1950s and 1960s.

Bo Diddley worked with many popular blues musicians with his record label Chase Records

3. He Wrote His Own Songs

Bo Diddley wrote all of his own songs – something that wasn’t common in those days when most singers relied on covers or songs written by others. His highly distinctive style blended elements of blues, jazz and gospel into something unique – which explains why he became such an influential figure in rock & roll history

4. He Wasn't Always Called "Bo"

Believe it or not, Bo Diddley wasn't always known by that name! His name was Ellas Otha Bates McDaniel, but he changed it when he began performing professionally because it sounded more catchy than his real name. It's safe to say that the change worked - after all, everyone knows him today as "Bo"!

5. He Was A Chess Champion

In addition to being a talented musician and entrepreneur, Bo Diddley was an avid chess player who competed at local tournaments throughout his career! Not only did he love playing chess - he actually won several tournaments during his lifetime.

6. He was part of one of Nike's most famous advertising campaigns.

In 1989 and 1990, Nike had a huge hit with one of their most famous ad campaigns, “Bo Knows”. It featured sports legend Bo Jackson playing different sports while Bo Diddley riffed with his guitar. The phrase immediately entered American popular culture, and "You Don't Know Diddley" became a hip thing to wear. Jackson and Diddley even appeared on Sesame Street, joking about “Bo Knows” with the Muppets.

Bo Diddley featured in one of Nike's most memorable campaigns in 1989/90

7. He was one of the first musicians to set up a home recording studio

In addition to his talent as a musician, Bo Diddley was an innovator who was ahead of the curve when it came to technological advancements. He designed his distinctive guitar himself, and he was one of the first performers to set up a home recording studio in 1959. From then on, he began recording all of his songs in his own studio – something unheard of in the music industry at the time.

Celebrating Bo Diddley

Bo Diddly is, without a doubt, one of the most influential figures in rock & roll history - but there is so much more to him than just being a great musician. There's no denying that this man had immense talent, but what makes him so special is his passion for multiple disciplines - from music composition to chess playing. His entrepreneurial spirit helped launch Chess Records, which went on to release some of the greatest records ever made by some of our favorite artists from generations past, like Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. We hope these seven fun facts will help you gain a greater appreciation for this remarkable human being whose legacy lives on through every single note we hear today.