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.