Short Biography

Bo Diddley was born on December 30, 1928 in McComb. Bo Diddley studied violin for years, but after hearing the music of blues legend John Lee Hooker, he switched to the guitar. Landing a record contract in 1955, Diddley reached the top 40 with ‘Pretty Things’ in 1956. Other famous songs include ‘Who Do You Love,’ ‘Mona,’ and ‘Before You Accuse Me.’ In 1987, Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bo Diddley, with his infectious rhythms and strong guitar work, was one of the early pioneers of rock and roll music. At a young age, he was sent to live with one of her cousins, Gussie McDaniel, in Chicago.
McDaniel adopted him and he took her last name. For years, he studied violin. Then after hearing the music of blues legend John Lee Hooker, he switched to the guitar. Diddley attended vocational school for a time, learning how to make violins and guitars. But he eventually dropped out.

Appearing on television, touring, and recording new material, Diddley remained popular until the mid-1960s. As rock and roll tastes changed, he started producing few albums, which weren’t met with the same enthusiasm as earlier efforts. Still he remained a powerful live performer who toured heavily. A 1979 tour with the punk rock group, The Clash, introduced Diddley to new audiences.
In 1987, Diddley was recognized for his role as a pioneering force in music by being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More recently, he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards in 1996. That same year, he released his last studio album, Man Amongst Men, which was warmly received by critics.
Sometimes called “The Originator,” Diddley has inspired countless acts that have followed in his musical footsteps, including Buddy Holly, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Doors.

Diddley spent the remainder of his days in Archer, Florida with his family. He continued to do everything from attending church to touring the country until May of 2007 when he was admitted into the ICU at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Diddley had suffered from a stroke, and already fighting hypertension and diabetes, the stroke damaged the left side of his brain and caused him to incur slight speech impairment. Later in the year, on August 28, 2007 Diddley suffered a heart attack, and then on June 2, 2008 he died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida surrounded by 35 of his friends and family members. The last words Bo Diddley spoke were, “I’m going to heaven.”