Don't tell Coon Rapids guitarist he doesn't "know Diddley"

5:21 AM, Jun 3, 2008   |    comments
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The music world is mourning the loss of a legend. Bo Diddley, a rock 'n' roll legend and pioneer, passed away on Monday in Jacksonville, Florida from heart failure. He was 79. It was a sad day for Ar Stevens of Coon Rapids. Stevens was lucky enough to play with Diddley dozens of times. He remembers when he first met the man in Milwaukee decades ago. "He (Diddley) just said you, he didn't know my name. He just pointed and said you, chinka chinka chinka on the guitar," Stevens recalled. That was the beginning of a musical relationship that took the pair halfway across the world. In 1985, Ar toured Great Britain with Bo Diddley. "They loved him there," Stevens said. One of the Minnesotan guitarist's prized musical possessions is home video of a gig they played together in the legendary Royal Albert Hall. "Bomp da bomp da bomp, bomp bomp," Stevens sang with a chuckle. "That's' all the people came to hear. I tell ya', if people don't start tapping their toes and start dancing with that beat, then they don't have any rhythm," Stevens added. Known as the originator, Diddley was an original. He's sometimes credited with helping to start the rock 'n' roll movement. That "shave and a haircut, two bits" beat is still used by artists today. You might think of Diddley's hit "Who do you love?" when you think of that famous beat. What music fans don't know about Diddley is that Bo was an entertainer off the stage. Ar Stevens remembers his legendary story telling ability. "I think we fought for the seats in the back of the bus so we could just be around him, listen to him talk," Stevens said. Stevens has several pictures of Bo tacked up on his basement wall, right next to other legends like Paul McCartney and Lil' Richard. "I'm sorry that he's gone and I wish I had a chance, that I could have worked with him more recently. You're talking about an icon, a rock and roll pioneer," Stevens concluded.

By Scott Seroka, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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