I don’t usually write an extra article just one day after a regular post, but I have been a Bo Diddley fan since my high school years, so this is my small tribute to the rock & roll legend who died today at age seventy-nine. There isn’t a huge connection between Bo and Elvis, but there are a few goodies.
The First Bo Diddley Album I Purchased
Elvis was also definitely a Bo Diddley fan. In 1956, while Elvis was in New York to appear on the Dorsey Brothers Stage Show TV program, he went to the Apollo Theater to see Bo Diddley perform.
In the early years of Bo Diddley’s career, he wiggled his hips a good bit while singing. Elvis was becoming a national sensation with his gyrations at the same time, so some people thought Elvis was copying Bo Diddley’s style of performing. Bo has been quoted, “If he copied me, I don’t care. More power to him. I’m not starving.” Of course, Elvis had been shaking his hips since an August 1954 concert at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, so Elvis came up with his movements a year-and-a-half before ever seeing Bo Diddley perform.
However, the myth of Elvis copying Bo endured. In an August 16, 2007 article, NY Daily News writer David Hinkley wrote: “The one bright spot in the trip, apparently, was a trip to the Apollo Theater to see Bo Diddley. Elvis loved Bo's music and Bo would later say Elvis stood in the wings and studied Bo's moves, close variations of which would later show up in Elvis' own act.” It sounds like Bo Diddley cared more than he had originally let on.
So far as is known, Elvis performed one Bo Diddley song in concert. On December 28, 1976, at a performance in Dallas, Elvis sang “Hey Bo Diddley.” Technically, the song was an instrumental featuring drummer Ronnie Tutt, with Elvis just scatting along from time to time. You can here this version on the bootleg Elvis album called “A Hot Winter Night In Dallas,” or the CD of the same name, released in 1998.
And finally, here is my favorite Bo Didley story, reprinted from the February 11, 2007 ElvisBlog article titled “Elvis and Ed Sullivan.”
Early in 1956, as Elvis’ career took off, Ed Sullivan was not interested in booking Elvis on his show. Sullivan even stated to the press, “He is not my cup of tea.” So, when Col. Parker offered to book Elvis for $5,000, Sullivan turned it down.
Another reason for Sullivan’s rejection was the famous Bo Diddley incident that turned Sullivan against all rock & rollers. In November of ’55, two of the hottest songs in the country were “Sixteen Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford and “Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley. Sullivan booked both singers on the same show, but Ford had to cancel at the last minute. For some reason, Sullivan thought the song was more important than the artist, and he pressed Bo Diddley to sing “Sixteen Tons” on the live show.
If you remember “Sixteen Tons” and the music of Bo Diddley, you know how ridiculous that notion was. Bo Diddley certainly must have thought so, but he was just starting out and needed the exposure. He didn’t fight with Sullivan’s producer. They printed up cue cards with the lyrics to “Sixteen Tons” for Diddley, and he did the song in rehearsal. However, when it was show time, Diddley performed his own song. This enraged Sullivan, and he vowed to see that Diddley would never appear again on TV. Of course, this did not happen, but he was banned from ever appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show again.
Bo Diddley Performing In 2006
Bo, you were an original, and we will miss you.
(C) 2008 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
The Last 50 Posts
- Caption Contest # 29 April 15, 2018
- More Anecdotes about Elvis’ Humor and Love of Fooling Around April 12, 2018
- Elvis Images Found in Archaeological Collections April 1, 2018
- Elvis’ 7 Day Journey from Soldier to Civilian March 24, 2018
- 60th Anniversary — Elvis’ Army Induction March 18, 2018
- Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 4 March 11, 2018
- Elvis’ Fabulous Cufflinks March 3, 2018
- 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial – Stay Away, Joe February 25, 2018
- Special Elvis Collectibles at the Last Auction at Graceland February 17, 2018
- FREE BOOKS February 15, 2018
- Happy 13th Birthday, ElvisBlog February 10, 2018
- Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 3 February 10, 2018
- Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen – Part 2 February 3, 2018
- Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before (and you probably haven’t either) January 27, 2018
- ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 20 January 20, 2018
- Sorry, No Post This Weekend January 13, 2018
- An Elvis Birthday Scrapbook January 7, 2018
- A Happy New Year Greeting from ElvisBlog December 31, 2017
- Elvis Collectibles that Failed to Sell in 1999 Get a Second Chance December 30, 2017
- Merry Christmas Everybody December 23, 2017
- Rock on, Santa, Rock on December 16, 2017
- Reindeer on TV Christmas Specials December 9, 2017
- Elvis Movie 50th Anniversary Pictorials: Clambake – 1967 December 3, 2017
- Today is Cyber Monday November 27, 2017
- Oh, no. Now there’s a part 2. November 25, 2017
- Some Fancy, Some Skimpy — Linda Thompson’s Wardrobe November 19, 2017
- Take a Peek inside BIG E and the SANTA MAN November 12, 2017
- Are There Any Collectible Elvis Figurines That Actually Look Like Elvis? November 4, 2017
- Who Are These Two Guys October 29, 2017
- Fats Domino and Elvis October 26, 2017
- Organizing My Elvis Pictures – Part 2 October 21, 2017
- THEY’RE BACK October 14, 2017
- How Elvis Spent the Summer of Love October 6, 2017
- Tom Petty and Elvis October 3, 2017
- Taking a Knee — Elvis Style September 30, 2017
- Elvis Paper Dolls September 23, 2017
- Elvis’ Original Graceland Piano Returns to the Music Room September 17, 2017
- Interesting Elvis Memorabilia – Part 37 September 10, 2017
- Elvis Fabulous Wardrobe – Part 7 August 26, 2017
- Memphis Mafia Organizational Chart August 19, 2017
- Sharing an Elvis Fan’s Sentiments 40 Years Later August 13, 2017
- Glen Campbell and Elvis August 9, 2017
- An Elvis Movie You’ll Want to Skip August 5, 2017
- Elvis’ First Guitar — Part 2 July 30, 2017
- Elvis’ First Guitar — A New Twist on a Old Story July 23, 2017
- Surfing the Graceland Guest House Website and Facebook Page July 16, 2017
- Elvis T-Shirt Review — Summer 2017 July 9, 2017
- 4th of July, Bald Eagles, and Elvis July 2, 2017
- Celebrating National Selfie Day with Elvis June 24, 2017
- A Summer of 40th Anniversaries June 18, 2017
Subscribe to Blog via Email