Diddley Daddy

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"Diddley Daddy"
Diddley daddy.jpg
Single by Bo Diddley
B-side "She's Fine, She's Mine"
Released June 1955 (1955-06)[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM, 10" 78 RPM
Recorded May 15, 1955 in Chicago, Illinois[2]
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 2:28
Label Checker 819[1]
Songwriter(s) Ellas McDaniel, Harvey Fuqua
Producer(s) Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Bo Diddley[2]
Bo Diddley singles chronology
"Bo Diddley"
"Diddley Daddy"
"Pretty Thing"
"Bo Diddley"
(April 1955)
"Diddley Daddy"
(June 1955)
"Pretty Thing"
(September 1956)

"Diddley Daddy" is a song by Bo Diddley. The song was issued as a single on Checker Records in June 1955.[1] His second single, it followed on the heels of the success of the eponymous "Bo Diddley." The song spent four weeks on the Billboard R&B chart in the summer of 1955,[3] peaking at #11.[4]

Writing and recording[edit]

The song was recorded on May 15, 1955 in Chicago. Originally called "Diddy Diddy Dum Dum,"[5] it started out as a Billy Boy Arnold composition, which Leonard Chess, owner of Chess Records (Checkers was a subsidiary label of Chess), had heard Arnold play and wanted Diddley to record. However, Arnold had just signed a contract with Vee-Jay Records, and had recorded the song the day before at Universal Studios. When Chess wanted Arnold to sing the song, the latter realized he had a contract, responding, "I can't do it...I just recorded it for Vee-Jay." Chess responded, "Goddam! Ain't this a bitch!" A solution, however, was found on the spot: Diddley and Harvey Fuqua, who happened to be around, rewrote the lyrics.[6]

As it happened, the harmonica player Little Walter was in the studio, and he asked Billy Boy Arnold for his harp; Walter plays the long solo after the first verse (Arnold plays harmonica on the B-side, "She's Fine, She's Mine"). Also decided at "the spur of the moment" was to have Chicago doo-wop group The Moonglows sing background vocals.[6]

Critical praise[edit]

One of Bo Diddley's signature songs, "Diddley Daddy" evidenced Diddley's maturation process as an artist.[7] It was described as a "terrific nugget"[8] and an "infectious" "upbeat rocker".[9] The Chicago Sun-Times said it combined "outrageous braggadocio with a beat that resounds like an endless sexual shudder."[10]

Marking Diddley's popularity in England, the Rolling Stones, who early in their career often played Diddley songs live,[11] covered the song (along with Diddley's "Road Runner") on their first demo, recorded on March 11, 1963.[12][13] Brian Jones would later borrow Diddley's guitar figure from the song for the band's 1965 single "19th Nervous Breakdown".

Bo Diddley, Diddley Daddy[edit]

The title of the song has come to stand for Bo Diddley himself, as evidenced from articles about Diddley by Val Wilmer[14] and Stuart Colman.[15] After Diddley's death, in 2008, the phrase directly referred to Diddley in various obituaries;[16] the usage reflected Diddley's habit of self-reference[17] as well as the way others talked about him, such as Tom Petty: "Elvis is King. But Diddley is Daddy."[18]


A Bo Diddley compilation CD issued in 1988 is also called Diddley Daddy.[19] The song is featured on many greatest hits albums by Bo Diddley including 16 All-Time Greatest Hits and His Best.


Notable covers[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard: 47. June 11, 1955. Retrieved December 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b His Best (CD liner). Bo Diddley. United States: Chess Records/MCA Records. 1997. CHD-9373 http://aln3.albumlinernotes.com/Bo_Diddley_His_Best.html |url= missing title (help). 
  3. ^ Pruter, Robert (1996). Doowop: the Chicago scene. University of Illinois Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-252-06506-4. 
  4. ^ "Bo Diddley: Rhythm 'n' blues guitarist who was a formative influence on the development of rock 'n' roll". The Telegraph. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  5. ^ Living Blues. 113-118: 27. 1994.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b c d Glover, Tony; Scott Dirks; Ward Gaines (2002). Blues with a feeling: the Little Walter story. Routledge. pp. 147–48. ISBN 978-0-415-93711-5. 
  7. ^ Dalton, David; Lenny Kaye (1999). Rock 100: the greatest stars of rock's golden age. Cooper Square Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8154-1017-1. 
  8. ^ Loder, Kurt (February 12, 1987). "Bo Diddley: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Jann S. Wenner: F.2. Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  9. ^ a b Roos, John (1998-06-13). "Better Off Dread: Chris Isaak's Gift Is Pain". Los Angeles Times. p. F.2. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  10. ^ Mcleese, Don (1986-09-12). "Diddley Spurs Trip to Heart of Rock Jungle". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  11. ^ Paytress, Mark (2003). The Rolling Stones: off the record. Omnibus Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7119-8869-9. 
  12. ^ a b Wyman, Bill; Ray Coleman (1997). Bill Wyman, Stone alone: the story of a rock 'n' roll band. Da Capo Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-306-80783-1. 
  13. ^ a b Stout, Gene (1986-02-07). "Bo Diddley Keeps Rock Rolling Along Path He Blazed Years Ago". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. 9. Retrieved 2009-12-10. [permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Wilmer, Valerie (1979-05-06). "The Grand Diddley Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll". The Observer. 
  15. ^ Stuart Colman, "Bo Diddley: The Diddley Daddy," in "They Kept on Rockin'; The Giants of Rock 'n' Roll". Poole: Blandfort. 1982. pp. 73–82. 
  16. ^ "Diddley Daddy: Rock Pioneer Fathered More Than a Beat". Washington Times. 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  17. ^ Larkin, Colin (1995). The Guinness encyclopedia of popular music, Volume 2. Guinness. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-56159-176-3. 
  18. ^ "Rockers mourn Diddley the Daddy". The Standard. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  19. ^ Strong 303.
  20. ^ Strong, Martin Charles; John Peel (2004). The great rock discography. Canongate. p. 743. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2. 
  21. ^ Strong 841.

External links[edit]