Pay Bo Diddley!

In fact, if he’d received a royalty of just one cent for every minute that a rock band has spent jamming away on that rhythm Bo would have died a very wealthy man.

But you can’t patent a rhythm and the subject of unpaid royalties was a sore point as far as Bo Diddley was concerned.

Not that he was alone in that regard. Most of the seminal blues artists that recorded for Chess in the fifties and sixties mounted law suits to recover unpaid royalties, and you’ll find strangely similar complaints from any number of rock bands aggrieved by record company accounting practices.

Two people who were iconic figures in their own industries died within days of each other.

The one who would have enjoyed the wealth his work was often labelled the king of haute couture and produced work that could really only be enjoyed by the people who could afford to pay for the label.

The other one produced something that moved masses on dance floors and in concert venues and lived in much more modest circumstances.

And, somehow, out of these circumstances the song that springs to Hughesy’s mind doesn’t come from Bo Diddley.

It’s Randy Newman’s The World Isn’t Fair.


B© Ian Hughes 2012