Hall of Fame Essay
Ed Sullivan was “more surprised than pleased” following his November 17th, 1955, show, during which Bo Diddley performed his self-mythologizing Top Ten R&B hit, “Bo Diddley,” instead of the version of “Sixteen Tons” Sullivan insisted he rehearse that afternoon.
The swaggering Chicago guitarist had been part of a fifteen-minute segment emceed by New York DJ Tommy “Dr. Jive” Smalls and also featuring such current R&B faves as LaVern Baker, the Five Keys and Willis “Gator Tail” Jackson.
Diddley, facing the nation that Sunday evening, subverted the set with a tune that showed off his customized sound, the Bo Diddley beat—a staccato duet between guitar and maracas, insistent and irresistible, an urban-jungle rhythm that conjured rock and roll out of the blues.
that inimitable Bo Diddley beat
Cleveland, Ohio 44114