Bo Diddley, Who Gave Rock His Beat, Dies at 79from NYTimes.com
...Mr. Diddley was a wild performer: jumping, lurching, balancing on his toes and shaking his knees as he wrestled with his instrument, sometimes playing it above his head. Elvis Presley, it has long been supposed, borrowed from Mr. Diddley’s stage moves; Jimi Hendrix, too.
Still, for all his fame, Mr. Diddley felt that his standing as a father of rock ’n’ roll was never properly acknowledged. It frustrated him that he could never earn royalties from the songs of others who had borrowed his beat.
“I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob,” he told The New York Times in 2003.
He was a hero to those who had learned from him, including the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. A generation later, he became a model of originality to punk or post-punk bands like the Clash and the Fall.
In 1979 Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of the Clash asked that Mr. Diddley open for them on the band’s first American tour. “I can’t look at him without my mouth falling open,” Mr. Strummer, star-struck, said during the tour.
For his part Mr. Diddley had no misgivings about facing a skeptical audience. “You cannot say what people are gonna like or not gonna like,” he explained later to the biographer George R. White. “You have to stick it out there and find out! If they taste it, and they like the way it tastes, you can bet they’ll eat some of it!”Mr. Diddley was born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Miss., a small city about 15 miles from the Louisiana border...
...Mr. Diddley always believed that he and Chuck Berry had started rock ’n’ roll, and the fact that he couldn’t financially reap all that he had sowed made him a deeply suspicious man.
“I tell musicians, ‘Don’t trust nobody but your mama,’ ” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2005. “And even then, look at her real good.”