Rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, who made his first recordings in 1955 and was still touring last year, died today at 79, the AP reports. The singer and guitarist, born Ellas Bates in Mississippi in 1928, not only pioneered distorted guitar tones; his bragging, syncopated style foreshadowed rap as well, Billboard reports.
The distinctive “Bo Diddley beat” echoes through modern pop—think Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Bruce Springsteen’s “She’s the One,” even George Michael’s “Faith”—but the man himself was unable to capitalize, the LA Times reports. He styled himself “the Originator,” but "have I been recognized? No, no, no."