June 2, 2008

Moment of silence...

... for the late, great Bo Diddley.

I thought this obituary in the Times was really well done, particularly the passage that explains the so-called Diddley Beat, which became one of the most influential licks in rock music. As the piece describes, it's the foundation of hundreds of songs, from Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" to Bruce Springsteen's "She's the One" to U2's "Desire" -- all pretty excellent tunes.

It's tough to describe in print -- something like dum-dum-dum (breath) dum-dum -- but the Times also has a neat audio slide show from a 2003 interview where you can hear the beat and Diddley describing its genesis. Just go here and then select the "Signature Beat" item.

I'd venture that most people who are my age, myself included, remember Bo best for his appearance in Nike's "Bo Knows" ads in the late 80s and early 90s. (One of the best ad campaigns ever, by the way, and definitely worth watching -- although you non-sports fans would need to know that the ads star Bo Jackson, who made a huge splash at the time by being an all-star performer in both pro baseball and the NFL.) But knowing more about Diddley and his influence, I'll have to check out some of those old recordings.


bugs said...

i didn't read the obit, but i clicked on the bo/nike ads - they were great.
i'm still just impressed that you have a blog with links to cool things that other people (v. wife + sister) read.

Your escalator operator said...

Thanks! I'm glad everyone has enough spare time to check it out once in a while. (And I'm impressed myself.)