I was lucky
enough to be in Bo Diddley’s backstage dressing room four times.
I always found him to be in a somewhat funny mood, joking with a
straight face etc. One time, we actually arm-wrestled on a
table. (Don’t ask who won. He used to be a boxer.)
He took the “Hambone” beat - “shave
and a haircut, two bits” - and turned it into his sound,
that so many others copied.
the most exciting finales of any concert I've attend was an
oldies show in 1972 in Connecticut. I got home late from
work and wanted to go. My wife didn't, so I went alone. At
the ticket counter, I told the man "one". He said, "I've
been trying to get rid of this all night" and gave me a
ticket. Although I was late, it was third row center aisle!
Haley and His Comets, the Shirelles, Bo Diddley, Gary U.S.
Bonds, and Chuck Berry. Bo was on second, did a good job,
and was off. After Bill Haley, Chuck Berry came on. You
have to remember one thing about Chuck Berry. He does not do
encores. When his time is up, he walks off stage and that's
finshed and left. The audience began clapping and stomping
their feet for more. i sat there quietly knowing there would
be no more. Boy, was I wrong!
the audience noise, I heard the guitar intro to "I'm A Man"
and Bo Diddley came out on the right side of the stage. His
legs spread way apart and he was "hopping" to center stage"
as he played.
heard the opening riffs of "Johnny B. Goode" and Chuck comes
out from the left side, doing his duckwalk and still
playing. The audience went wild. The two did a song together
and to this day, I can not tell you what it was, because of
the audience clapping, stomping, and screaming. (Sorta like
a Beatles concert!) Anyway, I got to see Chuck Berry do an
encore, and I got to see Bo Diddley perform with him.
Sharon and I were on a road trip a
few years ago. We were on the interstate going towards Ohio when
a car passed us real fast. I’ll swear to this day that it was Bo
driving that car. There was a name on the trunk reading
“Duchess”. We couldn’t catch him, he was doing more than 90.
I’ve stated before, if a stocky black
man with glasses comes walking towards you, wearing black
clothes, and a black hat, and carrying a square guitar. Watch
out, it’s Bo Diddley.
One of the legends of 1950's rock ‘n’
roll is gone.