Ellas McDaniel Otha Bates, (born Ellas Otha Bates, December 30, 1928 June 2, 2008), better known as Bo Diddley, was an African-American Blues and Rock singer, mainly prominent in the 1950s.
Copied from "Music of Note:"
His most famous contribution was the "Bo Diddley Beat" that rock bands the world over still use. He famously made his own, distinctively rectangular, electric guitars. They have a distinctive, almost ukelele-like tone color, easily recognizable and closely associated with Bo Diddley Beat-type music. Rolling Stone recognizes him as the twenty-seventh greatest guitarist of all time on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
He also served for some time as a deputy Sheriff. He lived his last years in Gainesville, Florida where there is a park/community plaza named after him. His son was arrested while protesting there.
Tropes having to do with Bo Diddley:
- Badass Boast: "I'm a Man"
- Bizarre Instrument: Mild example in his signature box-shaped guitar.
- Pun-Based Title: His 1960 album Have Guitar Will Travel is a pun on the Western TV show Have Gun Will Travel.
- Who's on First?: One of his most famous songs is named after him, which can lead to much confusion. It even confused Bo Diddley himself: when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1955, he was supposed to perform "Sixteen Tons", but he performed "Bo Diddley" instead due to seeing a cue card with his name on it and thinking he was to perform both songs. Sullivan got furious from the perceived double-crossing and banned him from future appearances on his show.