Thursday, June 5, 2008


Bo Diddley (1928-2008)

I had two extremely minor encounters with Bo Diddley. One was when he played at a house party in Marin in the mid-80s, and that was pretty much the extent of it, watching the master work his magic from a balcony on the crowd below, and being a part of that crowd.

The other was a long distance business encounter. I wanted to use lyrics to "Who Do You Love?" in my story "The Ballad of Jake the Snake and the Rock and Roll Kid." But Bo wanted a hundred dollars for the rights to do that, and I was to be paid less than $200 for the story itself, and those weren't the only lyrics I wanted to use. So I fudged the musical quotes and made up my own lyrics to "Who Do You Love?", plus "Oh Well," and "All Along the Watchtower."

But I was tempted to just send Bo the check. I really do think he deserved it.


black dog barking said...

Bo Diddley appears in the Chuck Berry documentary Hail! Hail! Rock'n'Roll. There's a scene where Diddley, Berry, and Little Richard are reminiscing about the good old days when 45rpm singles sold for 59¢ and netted the artist a cool half-cent apiece — $1 per 200 sales.

James Killus said...

I remember that scene. As I recall, it also featured some reminiscing about just how many ways the three of them had been screwed out of their royalties, which, of course, is one of the reasons why I almost sent Bo his $100.