Ellas Otha Bates, who became Elias McDaniel, but was of course, better known as Bo Diddley, died Monday, at his home in Archer, Florida, at the age of 79. The cause of his death was given as heart failure.
He was famous for such blues classics as “Who Do You Love?”, Before You Accuse Me”, and of course “Bo Diddley”. His signature rhythm became known as the Bo Diddley beat.
I was fortunate enough to see him play live in England in the early 1980′s, and a great performance it was too, in a dance hall that was big enough to contain the audience, but small enough for it to be a more intimate kind of event than one gets in a concert hall.
Bo Diddley may be gone, but his music, and his musical influences will live on.
While conducting the hymnal Te Deum for French King Louis XIV in 1687, Jean-Baptiste Lully was so focused in keeping the rhythm by banging a staff against the floor (this was the method before conductorâ€™s baton came into use), that he struck his toe hard but refused to stop.
The toe developed an abscess, which later turned gangrenous, but Lully refused to have it amputated. The gangrene spread and killed the stubborn musician.
Ironically, the hymn he was conducting was in celebration of the recovery of Louis XIV from an illness.