The music world lost a legend last week when Bo Diddley passed. Creater of the famous Diddley beat and player of the almost-as-famous square cigar-box guitar, he never got the respect of his peers Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but his music lives on. And if The Raconteurs did it on Conan, we can here, paying tribute to both the man and his beat.
The Animals – The Story of Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley)
One of those covers that does way more than the original, Eric Burdon and co. tell the story of Bo Diddley, the story of them meeting Bo Diddley (“That sure is the biggest load of rubbish I ever heard in my life”) and the story of the Britiish Invasion. Pretty good for under six minutes.
Quicksilver Messenger Service – Mona (Bo Diddley)
This cover was just ranked as the 88th best guitar song ever by Rolling Stone, so I guess it’s worth a listen. And yeah, that spacey guitar screams psychedelic from miles away.
Eric Clapton – Before You Accuse Me (Bo Diddley)
Eric does Bo does the blues. From his Unplugged set, it flies under the radar next to “Layla” and “Tears in Heaven”, but it’s a hell of a blues cover, channeling Skip James, Leadbelly, and Robert Johnson in those acoustic riffs.
Shadows of Knight – Oh Yeah (Bo Diddley)
Off the acclaimed Nuggets box set, these one-hit wonders make Diddley sound like The Kinks.
Warren Zevon – Bo Diddley’s a Gunslinger/Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley)
Bo really put himself in the songs – a good half of them seem to be named after him. Zevon’s clearly not too bad at the gun-slinging himself though, doing a killer live pairing that rocks hard and fast.
The Boy Least Likely To – Faith (George Michael)
No actual Diddley beat in this version, but isn’t drastic reinvention what the best covers do?
White Williams – I Want Candy (The Strangeloves)
The hit Bow Wow Wow version in the 80’s was a cover of this, and the hit Bananarama version was a cover of that. This ambient-electro one probably won’t reach the top 40, but it’s interesting hearing the Diddley beat through a drum machine.
Bob Dylan – Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly)
The quintessential song stealing the beat, it’s been covered by just about everyone, including Bob himself. Here’s a live take from ’99, featuring Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton on backing vocals.
Bob Walkenhorst – She’s the One (Bruce Springsteen)
The beat is a little more subtle without Max Weinberg’s drum crashes, but it’s there in this pretty solo acoustic take.
Howe Gelb w/ Scout Niblett – I Want Candy / I Know What Boys Want / Who Do You Love / Not Fade Away (The Strangeloves / The Waitresses / Bo Diddley / Buddy Holly)
It’s a regular Diddley-beat marathon!