You can’t have a moment of silence for Bo Diddley, J. Freedom du Lac writes in the Washington Post. It’s not that the music world hasn’t lost a great pioneer—it surely has. It’s that the mere mention of Diddley’s name sets your feet tapping to the “Bo Diddley beat,” the most imitated rhythm line in rock and roll: Bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp. Bomp-bomp.
The Originator spent his whole life worried that no one would recognize his place as rock’s father. “They don’t know who I am,” he told the Post in 2006. But to rock students, Diddley is already immortal. “We will never see his like again,” Mick Jagger said. But we surely will hear his like—because every rocker is playing his tune.