Bo Diddley Songs Ranked

Ellas McDaniel (born Ellas Otha Bates; December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known as Bo Diddley, was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, and music producer who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock and roll. He influenced many artists, including Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and The Clash. His use of African rhythms and a signature beat, a simple five-accent hambone rhythm, is a cornerstone of hip hop, rock, and pop music.[3][5][6] In recognition of his achievements, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2017.[7][5][8] He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[9] Diddley is also recognized for his technical innovations, including his distinctive rectangular guitar, with its unique booming, resonant, shimmering tones. Here are all of Bo Diddley songs ranked.

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13. Mona (Hey! Bo Diddley, 1957)

“Bo Diddley sings about Bo Diddley, as usual. The beat is unresistable, the backing vocalists heroically keep up with Bo Diddley’s pace, and the lyrics are proto-gangsta and weird. A winner.”

12. You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover (Bo Diddley, 1962)

“Simply put, if you don’t own this one, you don’t have a definitive history of how Rock & Roll came to be! This is some of the best power guitar driven rock & roll ever recorded. Each and every song is a classic on it’s own.”

11. Who Do You Love? (Who Do You Love?, 1956)

“Diddley used the Kansas City experience as the basis of “Who Do You Love?”, modifying the concept of trading insults to make the song become a lover swaggeringly boasting to a woman he wants about how powerful and strong he is, with barely concealed sexual undertones, compared to her current man and any other potential admirers.”

10. Pretty Thing (Bo Diddley, 1955)

“The harmonica in this song is pretty sick. They knew how to lay down a groove. Anyone care to hazard an estimate of how many times The Rolling Stones reconfigured one of Diddley’s riffs? Both tracks are very worthwhile here.”

See more: Bo Diddley Albums Ranked

9. Diddley Daddy (Bo Diddley, 1955)

“There is much to like about Bo Diddley’s music. Rock’n’roll music was a very broad spectrum, with the country-influenced Everly Brothers at one end and Bo Diddley’s bluesy music at the opposite end. Both made important contributions to popular music in their different ways.”

8. Say Boss Man (Bo Diddley (Original Album Plus Bonus Tracks), 1957)

“An iconic beat that would influence millions in the years to come, not to mention the tons of imitators. And that guitar…”

7. Hush Your Mouth (Bo Diddley (Original Album Plus Bonus Tracks), 1957)

“Diddley is truly a patriarch of rock and roll, a father figure whose influence is unmistakable in the early British Invasion groups, and a style and sound that still delights and sounds fresh some 50 odd years later.”

See more: Bob Seger Albums Ranked

6. Dearest Darling (Bo Diddley (Original Album Plus Bonus Tracks), 1957)

“The classic Bo Diddley sound is really the classic Diddley–Green sound: Bo Diddley’s fuzzy, primal, chugging, insistent tremolo-filled rhythm guitar, and Jerome Green’s piston-pumping, steam engine, maracas-on-fire percussion. “

5. Hey! Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley, 1957)

“I love Bo dearly, but not only is this not representative of his sound at the time, nearly all the songs on it don’t even have writing credits under his name (though the ones that do are the best on it)”

4. Before You Accuse Me (Bo Diddley, 1957)

“The notable song is a mid to uptempo, rocking rhythm & blues number with Williams’ insistent guitar figure and a nice guitar solo, and rhythmic drumming supporting Bo’s admonitory vocal to his accusatory woman, pointing out she is just as culpable as him”

3. Bring It to Jerome (Bo Diddley, 1957)

“Anyone care to hazard an estimate of how many times The Rolling Stones reconfigured one of Diddley’s riffs? Both tracks are very worthwhile here.”

2. I’m a Man (Bo Diddley, 1957)

“Those primal rhythms and sounds which Diddley summons on this tracks and so influential that he ought to get co-author credits on most of the great Stones albums. It really isn’t much of a stretch to say that Diddley co-wrote Exile on Main Street even though he never entered the studio.”

1. Bo Diddley (Bo Diddley, 1957)

“The performance is a highly innovative amalgam of the rhythm of the hambone, or Juba or Pattin’ Juba, style of African dance (which involves slapping, stomping, and patting the arms, legs, chest and cheeks, and which was originally brought by Konga slaves to Charleston, South Georgia); a 3-2 clave rhythm (originating in Cuba in the 1850s but rising to prominence there in the 1950s); rock ‘n’ roll stylings; and a primeval, deepest bowels of the earth sound.”