Acclaimed as the father of rock and roll, Bo Diddley (Ellas Bates McDaniel) was born near Magnolia, south of McComb, on December 30, 1928. Diddley wrote and recorded such hits as "I'm A Man", "Bo Diddley', "Say Man" and "I'm a Roadrunner". The distinctive rhythm of his "Bo Diddley" beat and his pioneering use of electronic distortion were widely influential. His song have been covered by Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, The Who and Eric Clapton among many others.
Bo Diddley, one of the most unconventional yet influential figures in the history of American popular music, lived his early years in Pike and Amite counties. According to the 1930 census, his name as a two-year-old was Ellis [sic] Landry; his mother, Ethel Wilson, was living at the time with her cousin, Eugene Bates (the man Diddley believed to be his father). Diddley used the surname Bates until his mother's cousin Gussie McDaniel began raising him. In McComb the McDaniel family lived on Carver Street, near Highway 51; they moved to Chicago in the mid-1930s. There Diddley took up the violin, and at age twelve received his first guitar. His unique approach to guitar, he recalled, stemmed largely from his attempts to imitate the sound of a bow on a violin. As a teen he began playing for tips on the streets and eventually
In 1955 Diddley made his first single for Chicago’s Checker Records. Both sides were hits: I’m A Man was a bold declaration of pride at a time when many whites referred to an African American man derogatorily as “boy,” and was covered by Muddy Waters as Mannish Boy, while the flip side, Bo Diddley, spotlighted his trademark beat, which was similar to a traditional African American slapping rhythm known as “hambone.” Diddley said he traced his variation back to Pentecostal church services, and his younger brother, the Reverend Kenneth Haynes, recalled Bo singing the rhythm as a child. The name “Bo Diddley” was used by various black vaudeville performers prior to his birth, and was suggested as a more colorful stage name than Ellas McDaniel when he recorded.
Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Chuck Berry were among the few African American artists to achieve crossover stardom in the 1950s rock’n’ roll market, and many bands adopted Diddley’s songs and beat. Diddley’s guitar sound became p art of the basic vocabulary of rock, influencing guitarists
A member of both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, Diddley received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, as well as a Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. He died at his home in Archer, Florida, on June 2, 2008.
Erected 2011 by Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 23.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 31° 14.685′ N, 90° 27.082′ W. Marker is in McComb, Mississippi, in Pike County. Marker is on South Railroad Blvd.. Touch for map. At Railroad Museum. Marker is in this post office area: McComb MS 39648, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. McComb (approx. 0.2 miles away); Summit Street (approx. ¾ mile away); C.C. Bryant (approx. 1½ miles away); Henry Quin Home (approx. 4.4 miles away); Harper Baptist Seminary
Also see . . . Bo Diddley website. (Submitted on June 15, 2017, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2017. This page originally submitted on June 13, 2017, by Rick Collins of Grand Isle, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 133 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 13, 2017, by Rick Collins of Grand Isle, Louisiana. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.