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10 Best Bo Diddley Songs of All Time


Bo Diddley, born Ellas Otha Bates McDaniel, was a pioneering American musician and songwriter who played a significant role in shaping the sound of rock and roll in the 1950s and beyond.





Known for his signature beat, electrifying guitar playing, and soulful vocals, Bo Diddley was a true innovator and an influence on countless artists who came after him. His music blended elements of blues, rock and roll, and R&B, creating a sound that was entirely his own.


In this article, we will be counting down the top 10 best Bo Diddley songs of all time, from his early hits to his later classics. Each of these songs represents a different facet of Bo Diddley’s style and sound, showcasing his range as a musician and songwriter. From the driving rhythms of “Road Runner” to the soulful blues of “Before You Accuse Me,” these songs stand as a testament to Bo Diddley’s enduring influence on the music world, and his place as one of the true legends of rock and roll.


Table of Contents

  • 1. “Who Do You Love”

  • 2. “I’m a Man”

  • 3. “Mona”

  • 4. “Hey Bo Diddley”

  • 5. “Say Man”

  • 6. “Before You Accuse Me”

  • 7. “Pretty Thing”

  • 8. “Road Runner”

  • 9. “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover”

  • 10. “Bring It To Jerome”


1. “Who Do You Love”



“Who Do You Love” is a classic blues rock song written and performed by Bo Diddley, one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 1950s and 60s. Released in 1956, the song features Diddley’s signature “shave and a haircut, two bits” rhythm, a simple but catchy beat that has become synonymous with his name. The lyrics are filled with sexual innuendo and swagger, as Diddley boasts about his romantic conquests and challenges his listeners to measure up to his standards. The song has been covered by countless artists over the years, including George Thorogood and the Destroyers, The Doors, and The Black Keys, cementing its status as a true rock and roll classic.


2. “I’m a Man”



“I’m a Man” is another classic track from Bo Diddley’s extensive catalogue, released in 1955. The song features Diddley’s trademark rhythm, this time with a more pronounced backbeat and a driving bass line. The lyrics are full of braggadocio and machismo, as Diddley proclaims his manhood and prowess to the world. The song’s simple structure and infectious groove have made it a staple of rock and roll radio and concert playlists for decades. In addition to its musical significance, “I’m a Man” is also notable for its cultural impact, as it served as a rallying cry for the civil rights movement and a symbol of African American pride and empowerment. Overall, “I’m a Man” stands as a testament to Bo Diddley’s lasting influence on rock and roll and popular music as a whole.


3. “Mona”



“Mona” is a classic rock and roll song written and performed by Bo Diddley, originally released in 1957. The song is known for its simple but irresistible riff, played on Diddley’s signature rectangular guitar, and its lyrics about a woman who drives the singer wild with desire. The song’s catchy melody and playful lyrics have made it a favorite of rock and roll fans for decades, and it has been covered by numerous artists, including The Rolling Stones, who famously added their own lyrics and called their version “Who Do You Love?” Overall, “Mona” stands as one of Bo Diddley’s most enduring and beloved songs.


4. “Hey Bo Diddley”



“Hey Bo Diddley” is a rock and roll classic from Bo Diddley’s early years, released in 1957. The song features Diddley’s trademark beat, with a catchy call-and-response chorus and lyrics that celebrate the singer’s status as a music icon. The song’s upbeat tempo and infectious groove have made it a favorite of rock and roll fans and musicians alike, and it has been covered by artists as diverse as The Yardbirds and The Animals. Overall, “Hey Bo Diddley” is a testament to Diddley’s enduring influence on the rock and roll genre.


5. “Say Man”



“Say Man” is a humorous and irreverent song by Bo Diddley, released in 1959. The song features a dialogue between Diddley and his friend, Jerome Green, with each man trading insults and wisecracks over a simple but infectious rhythm. The song’s lighthearted tone and playful lyrics make it a favorite of rock and roll fans who appreciate Diddley’s wit and humor. “Say Man” has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including The Kinks, and remains a classic example of Bo Diddley’s unique style and sound.


6. “Before You Accuse Me”



“Before You Accuse Me” is a blues classic written and originally performed by Bo Diddley in 1957. The song’s lyrics describe a man pleading his innocence to his lover, who accuses him of infidelity. The song features Diddley’s signature guitar sound, with a driving beat and rhythmic strumming, and showcases his raw and powerful vocals. “Before You Accuse Me” has been covered by many artists over the years, including Eric Clapton, who had a hit with his version in 1989, and remains a staple of the blues and rock and roll repertoire.


7. “Pretty Thing”



“Pretty Thing” is a blues rock song by Bo Diddley, released in 1955. The song features a driving beat and Diddley’s signature guitar sound, with lyrics that describe a woman who captivates the singer with her beauty and charm. The song’s catchy melody and infectious groove have made it a favorite of blues and rock and roll fans, and it has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including The Pretty Things, who took their name from the song. Overall, “Pretty Thing” is a classic example of Bo Diddley’s innovative and influential style.


8. “Road Runner”



“Road Runner” is a rock and roll classic written and performed by Bo Diddley in 1960. The song features Diddley’s signature beat, with a propulsive rhythm and simple but catchy guitar riff. The lyrics describe a man who loves to drive his car and has a special affection for his “road runner.” The song’s upbeat tempo and driving energy have made it a favorite of rock and roll fans, and it has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. Overall, “Road Runner” stands as a testament to Bo Diddley’s enduring influence on the rock and roll genre.


9. “You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover”



“You Can’t Judge a Book By the Cover” is a blues classic written by Willie Dixon and performed by Bo Diddley in 1962. The song’s title refers to the idea that appearances can be deceiving, and that one should not make assumptions based on outward appearances alone. The song features Diddley’s signature guitar sound, with a driving beat and catchy riff, and showcases his distinctive vocals. The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Yardbirds and Canned Heat, and remains a favorite of blues and rock and roll fans.


10. “Bring It To Jerome”



“Bring It To Jerome” is a blues classic written and originally performed by Bo Diddley in 1959. The song features Diddley’s signature beat, with a propulsive rhythm and catchy guitar riff, and showcases his raw and powerful vocals. The lyrics describe a man named Jerome who is the life of the party and always knows how to have a good time. The song’s upbeat tempo and infectious energy have made it a favorite of blues and rock and roll fans, and it has been covered by many artists over the years, including The Rolling Stones. Overall, “Bring It To Jerome” is a testament to Bo Diddley’s unique style and sound, and his enduring influence on the blues and rock and roll genres.

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