viernes, 5 de agosto de 2011

Bo Diddley

Ellas Otha Bates (December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Elias McDaniel), and inventor. He was also known as "The Originator" because of his key role in the transition from the blues to rock & roll, influencing a host of acts including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Clash, The Yardbirds, and Eric Clapton. He introduced more insistent, driving rhythms and a hard-edged guitar sound on a wide-ranging catalog of songs. Accordingly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and a Grammy Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He was known in particular for his technical innovations, including his trademark rectangular guitar.
Born in McComb, Mississippi, as Ellas Otha Bates, he was adopted and raised by his mother's cousin, Gussie McDaniel, whose surname he assumed, becoming Ellas McDaniel. In 1934, the McDaniel family moved to the largely black South Side area of Chicago, where the young man dropped the name Otha and became known as Ellas McDaniel, until his musical ambitions demanded that he take on a more catchy identity. In Chicago, he was an active member of his local Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he studied the trombone and the violin, becoming proficient enough on the latter for the musical director to invite him to join the orchestra, with which he performed until the age of 18. He was more impressed, however, by the pulsating, rhythmic music he heard at a local Pentecostal Church, as well as an interest in the guitar.

Inspired by a concert where he saw John Lee Hooker perform, he supplemented his work as a carpenter and mechanic with a developing career playing on street corners with friends, including Jerome Green (c. 1934–1973), in a band called The Hipsters (later The Langley Avenue Jive Cats). During the summer of 1943–44, he played for tips at the Maxwell Street market in a band with Earl Hooker. By 1951 he was playing on the street with backing from Roosevelt Jackson (on washtub bass) and Jody Williams (whom he had taught to play the guitar). Williams later played lead guitar on "Who Do You Love?" (1956). In 1951 he landed a regular spot at the 708 Club on Chicago's South Side, with a repertoire influenced by Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters.
In late 1954, he teamed up with harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, drummer Clifton James, and bass player Roosevelt Jackson, and recorded demos of "I'm A Man" and "Bo Diddley". They re-recorded the songs at Chess Studios with a backing ensemble comprising Otis Spann (piano), Lester Davenport (harmonica), Frank Kirkland (drums), and Jerome Green (maracas). The record was released in March 1955, and the A-side, "Bo Diddley", became a #1 R&B hit.
McDaniel adopted the stage name "Bo Diddley". The origin of the name is somewhat unclear, as several differing stories and claims exist. Diddley claims that his peers gave him the nickname, which he first suspected to be an insult. Bo Diddley himself said that the name first belonged to a singer his adoptive mother was familiar with, while harmonicist Billy Boy Arnold once said in an interview that it was originally the name of a local comedian that Leonard Chess borrowed for the song title and artist name for Bo Diddley's first single. A "diddley bow" is a typically homemade American string instrument of African origin, probably developed from instruments found on the coast of west Africa.

On November 20, 1955, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, a popular television variety show, where he infuriated the host. "I did two songs and he got mad," Bo Diddley later recalled. "Ed Sullivan said that I was one of the first colored boys to ever double-cross him. Said that I wouldn't last six months". The show had requested that he sing the Merle Travis-penned Tennessee Ernie Ford hit "Sixteen Tons", but when he appeared on stage, he sang "Bo Diddley" instead. This substitution resulted in his being banned from further appearances.
The request came about because Sullivan's people heard Diddley casually singing "Sixteen Tons" in the dressing room. Diddley's accounts of the event were inconsistent.
Chess included Diddley's recording of "Sixteen Tons" on the album Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger, which was originally released in 1960.
He continued to have hits through the rest of the 1950s and even the 1960s, including "Pretty Thing" (1956), "Say Man" (1959), and "You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover" (1962). He released a string of albums whose titles, including Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger and Have Guitar, Will Travel, were bolstered his self-invented legend. Between 1958 and 1963, Checker Records released 11 full-length albums by Bo Diddley. Although he broke through as a crossover artist with white audiences (appearing at the Alan Freed concerts, for example), he rarely tailored his compositions to teenage concerns.

In 1963, he starred in a UK concert tour with the Everly Brothers and Little Richard. The Rolling Stones, still barely known outside London at that time, appeared as a supporting act on the same bill.
In addition to the many songs recorded by him, in 1956 he co-wrote, with Jody Williams, the pioneering pop song "Love Is Strange", a hit for Mickey & Sylvia in 1957.
Bo Diddley was one of the first American male musicians to include women in his band, including "The Duchess" Norma-Jean Wofford, Peggy Jones (aka "Lady Bo"), Cornelia Redmond (aka Cookie), and Debby Hastings, who led his band for the final 25 years of his performing career. He also set up one of the first home recording studios.
Over the decades, Bo Diddley's venues ranged from intimate clubs to stadiums. On March 25, 1972, he played with The Grateful Dead at the Academy of Music in New York City. The Grateful Dead released part of this concert as Volume 30 of the band's Dick's Picks concert album series. Also in the early 1970s, the soundtrack for the ground-breaking animated film Fritz The Cat contained his song "Bo Diddley", in which a crow idly finger-pops along to the track.
Bo Diddley spent many years in New Mexico, living in Los Lunas, New Mexico from 1971 to 1978 while continuing his musical career. He served for two and a half years as Deputy Sheriff in the Valencia County Citizens' Patrol; during that time he personally purchased and donated three highway patrol pursuit cars.[18] In the late 1970s, Diddley left Los Lunas and moved to Hawthorne, Florida where he lived on a large estate in a custom made log-cabin home, which he helped to build. For the remainder of his life he spent time between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Florida, living the last 13 years of his life in Archer, Florida, a small farming town near Gainesville.

He appeared as an opening act for The Clash in their 1979 US tour; in Legends of Guitar (filmed live in Spain, 1991) with B.B. King, Les Paul, Albert Collins, George Benson, among others, and joined The Rolling Stones as a guest on their 1994 concert broadcast of Voodoo Lounge, performing "Who Do You Love?" with the band. Sheryl Crow and Robert Cray also appeared on the pay-per-view special.

Bo Diddley (McComb, 30 de diciembre de 1928 - 2 de junio de 2008), fue un compositor, cantante y guitarrista estadounidense que tuvo una gran influencia en el rock and roll. Se le suele considerar como la figura predominante en la transición del blues al rock and roll, creador de ritmos básicos con un sonido duro y afilado de su guitarra. Por ello tenía el sobrenombre de "The Originator" (El Autor).
Nació en una granja algodonera entre McComb y Magnolia (Misisipi). Con el nombre de Otha Ellas Bates, más adelante, al vivir con su madre adoptiva, Gussie McDaniel, prima de su madre, pasaría a llamarse Ellas McDaniel. El nombre artístico de Bo Diddley, viene a significar en argot algo así como "nada de nada". Otra fuente dice que el nombre vendría de un apodo de su época de boxeador. El nombre también se liga al arco de diddley (diddley bow en inglés), un instrumento de cuerda usado en los campos del sur, principalmente por los músicos negros.
En 1933 pasó a vivir en Chicago donde a temprana edad comenzaría su afición por la música. Siendo muy joven, su hermana le regaló una guitarra, comenzando a recibir lecciones de este instrumento y de violín con el profesor O. W. Frederick. Según él mismo reconoció, su inspiración le vino viendo a John Lee Hooker.
Si en el rock and roll Elvis Presley es el rey y Chuck Berry su poeta, Bo Diddley fue su arquitecto. Su estilo personal ha influido y sigue influyendo de tal modo que según pasa el tiempo su figura se agranda en el panorama de la música rock. Por otro lado, su fama no fue premiada en el aspecto económico como cabría haber esperado. La crudeza de su estilo le cerró las puertas a ventas millonarias, puertas que sí se abrirían de par en par para muchos músicos y bandas en los que influyó.
Sus inicios comienzan en 1951 tocando en las calles, los mercados y en el 708, un famoso club de la época. Sus temas ponían de manifiesto sus influencias de Nat King Cole, Muddy Waters, Louis Jordan o John Lee Hooker.

Su oportunidad vendría de manos de la Checker Records de Chicago, una filial de la Chess Records. En 1955 grabaría su primer disco con dos temas: Bo Diddley y I'm a man. En estos temas ya destaca con su potente chorro de voz y el sonido psicodélico inconfundible de su guitarra.
El 20 de noviembre de 1955, Bo Diddley era el primer afroamericano en aparecer en el programa de televisión The Ed Sullivan Show. Años más tarde, recordando este hecho díría que la experiencia no hizo más que enfurecerlo. "Interpreté dos canciones y consiguió enojarme... Ed Sullivan dijo que era uno de esos prometedores jóvenes de color que siempre le engañaban. Dijo que no duraría más seis meses".
Con el tiempo fueron surgiendo nuevas canciones en las que una parte importante eran los músicos que le acompañaban: Su hermanastra, llamada "La Duquesa", a la segunda guitarra; Billy Boy Arnold a la armónica; Franz Kirkland o Clifton James en la batería; Otis Spann al piano; Jerome Green con las maracas y voz acompañante.
En los últimos años, Bo Diddley recibió numerosos reconocimientos a su papel como uno de los padres fundadores del rock and roll. En 1986 lo incluyeron en la Washington Area Music Association. Al año siguiente lo incluirían en el Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Su contribución pionera al género ha sido reconocida también por el Rockabilly Hall of Fame. En 1996, la Rhythm and Blues Foundation le concedió el mérito de una vida consagrada al ritmo. En 1998, la Recording Academy le premia con un Lifetime Achievement Award en la ceremonia de los premios Grammy por su canción "Bo Diddley" grabada en 1955.

El comienzo del nuevo milenio introdujo a Bo Diddley en el Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame y en los famosos de la North Florida Music Association. En 2002, recibió sendos premios de la National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters y de la Broadcast Music Incorporated en reconocimiento a sus múltiples contribuciones a la música contemporánea.
En 2003, en la Cámara de representantes de los Estados Unidos, Hon. John Conyers, Jr. de Míchigan, rendía un tributo a Bo Diddley al describirlo como "uno de los verdaderos pioneros del rock and roll, que ha influenciado a generaciones".
En 2004, la grabación de 1956 que realizaron Mickey Baker y Sylvia Vanderpool de su canción "Love Is Strange" (El amor es extraño) fue incluida en el "Grammy Hall of Fame" como una de las grabaciones con significación histórica. La revista Rolling Stone lo nombró como uno de sus temas immortals en el artículo The 50 Greatest Artists of All Time (Los 50 artistas más grandes del todo el tiempo).
En 2005, Bo Diddley celebró su quincuagésimo aniversario en el mundo de la música con exitosas giras por Australia, Europa y de costa a costa por toda Norteamérica. En el vigésimo aniversario de la creación del Rock and Roll Hall of Fame interpretó su canción "Bo Diddley" con Eric Clapton y Robbie Robertson. En el Reino Unido, la revista Uncut incluyó su álbum de 1958 en la lista 100 Music, Movie & TV Moments That Have Changed The World (Las 100 canciones, películas y programas de televisión que han cambiado el mundo).

Diddley murió el 2 de junio de 2008 a los 79 años. El año 2007 sufrió una serie de ataques cerebrales y cardíacos que lo dejaron muy debilitado. Falleció en su casa de Archer (Florida).

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