(Reuters) - Five facts about rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Bo Diddley, who died at his home in Archer, Florida on Monday at age 79:
* Diddley, who was born Ellas Bates on December 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi, played classical violin as a boy. He became interested in the guitar after hearing John Lee Hooker’s blues classic “Boogie Chillen” and said the violin helped him create his guitar style.
* The distinctive 5/4 rhythm pattern that became known as “the Bo Diddley beat” can be heard in dozens of other musicians’ songs, including Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” Johnny Otis’s “Willie and the Hand Jive,” U2’s “Desire,” the Who’s “Magic Bus” and Bruce Springsteen’s “She’s the One.”
* Diddley built many violins and guitars, including rectangular models like the one he often played onstage. His stage name may have come from a one-stringed instrument called a diddley bow.
* Although Diddley did not like “gangsta” rap, some of his songs were forerunners of the rap genre, with his propensity for good-natured boasting and calling his own name in his songs. The verbal sparring with bandmate Jerome Green in several of his songs was similar to that heard in today’s rap music.
* When Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the members of ZZ Top introduced him.
Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Eric Walsh