Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Diddley's top tunes

Posted on

Diddley’s top tunes

Among rock’s elder statesmen, Bo Diddley was the great minimalist. Applying basic ideas — his ”boom-ba-dah-boom-boom” beat, tremolo-infused guitars, and a solipsistic worldview — he helped create rock & roll. Here are five essential Diddley tracks.

”Bo Diddley” (1955)
His first hit is a nursery rhyme — turned — fractured love song, courtesy of dadaist lyrics (”Ugly ole Mojo/Where you been/Up your house and gone again”), a woozy guitar riff, and that signature Bo beat.

”I’m a Man” (1955)
This three-chord stomp appeared on the B side to ”Bo Diddley,” inspiring a generation of British Invasion rockers.

”Who Do You Love” (1956)
A macabre come-on that’s downright savage, it contains Diddley’s best ax slinging.

”Mona (I Need You Baby)” (1957)
A primal and eerie plea for a lover to come out and play, the track was later covered by the Rolling Stones and the Clash.

”Say Man” (1959)
Diddley plays the dozens with his maracas-shaking sidekick Jerome Green, coming up with this top 20 hit.