Monday, November 23, 2009

In Search of Eddie Riff (An Occasional Series)

From 1958, please enjoy the incomparable Bo Diddley and his characteristically self-referential r&b hit "Diddley Daddy."




You know, I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but until I first heard that song sometime in the 70s, I'd had no idea whatsoever that The Rolling Stones had appropriated the song's insinuating three-notes-of-an-E-chord riff for the far more familiar "19th Nervous Breakdown."





Granted, the Stones appropriated it to rather brilliant ends, but frankly if I'd been Bo, I would have sued.

6 comments:

Peter said...

Can you sue over a riff? I know Duane Allman's daughter Galadrielle (sp?) sued Clapton over Layla." How did that work out?

Today's word verification: "Phype."

steve simels said...

I dunno -- all I know is first time I heard the Bo Diddley I went -- oh heaven's sake, they stole THAT?

J. Loslo said...

I'd always thought that John Lee Hooker's publishing company sued ZZ Top over stealing the riff from "Boogie Chillun" for "La Grange," but if my cursory reading of the legal summary is correct, the suit was not just over the riff but the "marginally coherent rambling" (I think they mean "semi-coherent mumbling") over the riff.

http://cip.law.ucla.edu/cases/case_lacienegazztop.html

David said...

No doubt the Stones nicked the riff, but by twinning it with that punchy rhythmic, sounds-like-a-suspended chord figure, A+B becomes C...

steve simels said...

Obviously, I was being snarky, and god knows the riff the Stones put on top of Bo's is equally, maybe even more, memorable.

Like I said, though, the first time I heard Bo's you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather.

David said...

No one will ever say Steve Simels don't know diddley.