Bo Diddley beat

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Bo Diddley beat takes its name from Bo Diddley and his eponymous song

The Bo Diddley beat is a syncopated musical rhythm that is widely used in rock and roll and pop music.[1][2][3] The beat is named after rhythm and blues musician Bo Diddley, who introduced and popularized the beat with his self-titled debut single, "Bo Diddley", in 1955.

History and composition[edit]

"Bo Diddley beat"[4]/Son clave About this soundPlay .

The Bo Diddley beat is essentially a 3-2 clave rhythm, one of the most common bell patterns found in Afro-Cuban music that has been traced to sub-Saharan African music traditions.[5] It is also akin to the rhythmic pattern known as "shave and a haircut, two bits", that has been linked to Yoruba drumming from West Africa.[6] A folk tradition called "hambone", a style used by street performers who play out the beat by slapping and patting their arms, legs, chest, and cheeks while chanting rhymes has also been suggested.[7]

According to musician and author Ned Sublette, "In the context of the time, and especially those maracas [heard on the record], 'Bo Diddley' has to be understood as a Latin-tinged record. A rejected cut recorded at the same session was titled only 'Rhumba' on the track sheets."[8] Bo Diddley employed maracas, a percussion instrument used in Caribbean and Latin music, as a basic component of the sound.[6] When asked how he began to use this rhythm, Bo Diddley gave many different accounts. In a 2005 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he said that he came up with the beat after listening to gospel music in church when he was twelve years old.[9]

In its simplest form, the Bo Diddley beat can be counted out as either a one-bar or a two-bar phrase. The following consists of the count in a one-bar phrase: One e and ah, two e and ah, three e and ah, four e and ah. The bolded counts are the clave rhythm.

Songs using the Bo Diddley Beat[edit]

The rhythm occurs in 13 rhythm and blues songs recorded between 1944 and 1955, including two by Johnny Otis from 1948.[10] In 1952, a song with similar syncopation, "Hambone" was recorded by Red Saunders' Orchestra with the Hambone Kids. In 1944, "Rum and Coca Cola", containing the beat, was recorded by the Andrews Sisters.[4]

Later songs employing the Bo Diddley beat include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Jonathan (June 3, 2008). "Bo Diddley, guitarist who inspired the Beatles and the Stones, dies aged 79". The Independent. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  2. ^ "Bo Diddley". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  3. ^ "Bo Diddley". Rolling Stone. 2001. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Hicks, Michael (2000). Sixties Rock. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-252-06915-4.
  5. ^ Peñalosa, David (2010). The Clave Matrix; Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its Principles and African Origins. Redway, California: Bembe Books. p. 244. ISBN 1-886502-80-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e McDonald, Sam (September 7, 2005). "CHUNKA - CHUNKA - CHUNK A - CHUNK-CHUNK". Access World News. Daily Press. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  7. ^ Roscetti, Ed (2008). Stuff! Good Drummers Should Know. Hal Leonard. p. 16. ISBN 1-4234-2848-X.
  8. ^ Sublette, Ned (2007). The Kingsmen and the Cha-Cha-Chá. Duke University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0822340410.
  9. ^ Strauss, Neil (August 25, 2005). "The Indestructible Beat of Bo Diddley". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  10. ^ Tamlyn, Garry Neville (March 1998). The Big Beat: Origins and Development of Snare Backbeat and other Accompanimental Rhythms in Rock'n'Roll (PDF) (Thesis). University of Liverpool. p. 284. Retrieved August 4, 2014 – via Philip Tagg.
  11. ^ Rosen, Steven (March 16, 2011). "Behind The Song: "Not Fade Away"". American Songwriter. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Dean, Bill (June 2, 2008). "Rock pioneer Bo Diddley dies". Gainesville.com. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kot, Greg (June 2, 2008). "Bo Diddley dead at 79". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ratliff, Ben (June 3, 2008). "Bo Diddley: The Beat That Will Go On". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Aquila, Richard (2016). Let's Rock!: How 1950s America Created Elvis and the Rock and Roll Craze. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 232. ISBN 978-1442269378.
  16. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Rolling Stones: Flowers – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  17. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Jefferson Airplane: She Has Funny Cars – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Barton, Geoff (September 24, 2016). "The Story Behind The Song: Ace Frehley's New York Groove – Classic Rock". Teamrock.com. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Harris, John (2010). Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll: The Ultimate Guide to the Music, the Myths and the Madness. Hachette. p. 149. ISBN 0748114866. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
  20. ^ Swanson, Dave. "When Primal Scream Created Their Own World With "Screamadelica"". diffuser.fm. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  21. ^ Eder, Bruce. "Allman Brothers Band: "Where It All Begins" – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  22. ^ Jack, Malcolm (February 13, 2014). "Ezra Furman – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved December 15, 2018.