Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley: 1928-2008
Write His Name On The Heavenly Stair

Bo Diddley - Elas McDaniels


I met Bo Diddley (Elas McDaniels) once. He was in Washington, playing in a small club in Georgetown. I remember two things he said that night that stuck. I was in attendance at an interview, and my friend was trying to draw him out about "the good old days." Mr. McDaniels said, "Those were the bad old days of coming through the back door or kitchen because of segregation and then not getting paid by the club owners." He also said, "Eat food as much as you can, whenever you can, because you never know where your next meal is coming from."

Bo's Sister, Duchess

I had another friend who lived in a house in D.C. off Eastern Avenue in N.E. where Bo Diddley had once lived. Bo also lived for a time on Rhode Island Avenue....2416 or in that vicinity. I also remember he hit on me that night. Some fool line about how I reminded him of someone. Old men and their ways. I guess if they're lucky, the fire is still there.
He had so many great songs and such a huge influence on rock and roll, I'm not going to eulogize him here other than remembering the man tonight. In one song, "Dearest Darling," he said:

"If I get to heaven before you do
I'll try to make a hole and pull you through
If I go to heaven and you're not there
I'm gonna write your name on the heavenly stair
If you aren't there by Judgment Day
Then I'll know baby you went the other way."

I'm adding a You Tube of the British Invasion group the Animals doing their infamous "The Story of Bo Diddley." It's well worth the length, full of the Bo Diddley rhythm and beat and really captures the spirit of the man. Ooo wee oh oh. Ooo la la that rock and roll.

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Blogger Squirrel said...

Bo Diddley Rest in Peace, he was the coolest.
I love the scene between him and dan ackroyd in Trading Places--

ps. re: helen hayes (i moderated but have no idea where your comment went-- and am not sure what all it said)

here is a link from one year ago when pretty was for sale :

also I should do a post showing her grave here and her hospital and her father in law' s christian seminary

12:56 AM  
Blogger Squirrel said...

found it-- rosie odonnell lives in a cluster of 3 houses in south nyack. on new years day I posted a pic that shows her boat dock/ pier connected to her properties. At the time i didn't know exactly where she lived. rosie blogs big time.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Squirrel: So ya ate my comment :D Yeah Bo was cool and a HUGE influence on rock and roll on so many levels. I love the photos on your blog. Good stuff.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

What a tribute! Wow!! Love the pic of Duchess and that song? Haven't listened to it in so many years.

Oh yeah!!

8:05 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

I pulled out my Chess records Bo Diddley boxed set last night and was again struck how timeless much of it was. (Not all, but still.) Back in my college radio days, I sometimes mixed in a little Bo Diddley not just with my blues shows, but my alternative rock shows too. Always went over well with the listeners. Music that just screamed "Wake up!"

10:19 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Actually, no. Not music that screamed, "Wake up!" exactly. Music that was more like getting slapped upside the head with a spoonful of grits and then doing a big shot of whiskey.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Reya: "..and Duchess...his beeyootifull sistah." Incredible shot, yeah. I was also going to put up one of Jerome Greene, his maracas man, but didn't see any that were suitable.

Hammer: That's one of the keys to his music was it's energy. And I'm afraid I can't hear any reference to grits and music and not think of Al Green taking a hot lapful in his bathtub.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

He always had the best guitars.

And I can only hope Ned Flanders delivers his eulogy.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Those guitars were his design, Phil, as I'm sure you know. At least it doesn't seem like his family will be having contentious fights over his corpse like poor James Brown.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Mike Licht said...

The Gretsch G6138 is the Bo Diddley signature model. Yep, the rectangle the company built for Bo in 1958.

12:06 AM  
Blogger d. chedwick said...

I was saddened to hear of his passing.

great pic of Duchess!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

I know.

They literally had to hide James in some air-conditioned closet in his house to keep his crazy ex away from him.

12:34 PM  
Blogger m.a. said...

Right on, Cube. I knew you'd do the man justice.


1:46 AM  

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