Rock ‘n’ roll forefather Bo Diddley died today at the age of 79, reports The New York Times. The guitarist, singer and songwriter was an innovator in almost every aspect of his music. He was known for the signature "Bo Diddley beat" (bomp, ba-bomp-bomp, bomp-bomp), his unmistakable rectangular guitar and a revolutionary sound that jumped out of blues and R&B traditions just as Diddley himself (born Ellas Bates) would often jump around the stage.
Diddley, aptly nicknamed "The Originator," was a major influence on musicians that followed him, including Buddy Holly, who covered his eponymous "Bo Diddley," the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Yardbirds and countless others. The "Bo Diddley beat" has shown up on everything from Elvis Presley’s "His Latest Flame" and Bruce Springsteen’s "She’s The One" to The Smiths’ "How Soon Is Now" and The Stooges’ "1969." Diddley signed to the Chicago’s famous Chess Records in 1955.
In November 2006, Bo Diddley, well into his sixth decade of music making, came to Charlottesville to perform at The Paramount Theater. Diddley, who had been in poor health since suffering a stroke about a year ago and a heart attack in August 2007, died of heart failure in his Florida home.
Here is a video of Diddley performing on The Big TNT Show in 1966: