Bo Diddley, one of the least known pioneers of rock 'n' roll, died Monday, June 2, 2008. He was respected by lots of musicians and was in a few movies. In fact, I just watched Trading Places on Saturday before he died. He was the pawn shop owner.
You may have seen him in a George Thorogood video shooting pool. Was it Bad to the Bone? I can't find the video.
Bo Diddley was easily recognized with his flat-brimmed, flat-top hat, square guitar and thick square glasses. He lived in near poverty for many years after his initial fame because the record companies basically stole the copyright to his songs (this is not unique to Black artists, John Fogerty wouldn't play any of his own Creedence Clearwater Revival songs for years since the record company has taken his copyright and hince his royalties).
Bo Diddley's hit songs (all of which you probably recognize even if you don't know it) include Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love, Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover, and I'm A Man which also has a similar version by Muddy Waters called Mannish Boy.
Diddley was similar to John Lee Hooker in that they would do entire songs in one key. Just keep the driving rhythm the same throughout the song.
A few good write ups on Bo Diddley are at USA Today (which surprises me), and Wikipedia has a good article. Of course, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inducted him many years ago.