Ithaca Blog

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bo Diddley on the Mend

Rock and roll originator Bo Diddley, 78, suffered a stroke four days ago during a performance in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was hospitalized and his condition described as "guarded," but he is reportedly making significant progress, is not in physical danger, and may well be able to continue his performing career.

Mr. Diddley's manager, Margo Lewis, says he will need speech therapy, but she believes he will sing and play again.

"We're going to get a guitar for him and put it in his lap and let him entertain people here," Lewis said from the hospital. "People think that would be good therapy for him."

Along with Chuck Berry in the 1950's, Diddley was a key figure in the development of rock and roll music from the blues. As Mr. Berry had a signature guitar riff, Diddley had a signature beat, simply known as the Bo Diddley beat.

Despite his string of pioneering hits, racism kept Diddley from the recognition and financial rewards he deserved, as white imitators surpassed him in earnings and fame.

Mr. Diddley was once asked how he felt about his treatment by society. Always a man of humor as well as intelligence, he simply said, "Man, we a nation of slow understanders."

God bless and get well soon, Bo Diddley.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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