The Riff
Published in

The Riff

They Got the Bo Diddley Beat

Jasmine Records

While its rhythm has been attributed to everything from Afro-Cuban clave music to “shave and a haircut, two bits,” the Bo Diddley Beat — three strokes/rest/two strokes — remains a rock and roll original created by Ellas McDaniel: the great Bo Diddley.

Diddley, who died in 2008, said that the beat’s inspiration came from the gospel music he’d heard as a child in a Pentecostal church in Mississippi.

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