He also started boxing, hoping to turn professional. Diddley made a demonstration recording with his band, which now included Jerome Green on maracas.
White, explaining that his fingers were too big to move around easily. Diddley said, he tuned the guitar to an open E and moved a single finger up and down to create chords.
As his fame rose, his personal life grew complicated.
Diddley open for them on the band’s first American tour. Diddley had no misgivings about facing a skeptical audience. If they taste it, and they like the way it tastes, you can bet they’ll eat some of it! Diddley was born Otha Ellas Bates in Mc Comb, Miss., a small city about 15 miles from the Louisiana border.
“I can’t look at him without my mouth falling open,” Mr. “You cannot say what people are gonna like or not gonna like,” he explained later to the biographer George R. He was reared primarily by Gussie Mc Daniel, the first cousin of his mother, Esther Wilson. Mc Daniel, who had three children of her own, took the family to Chicago, where young Otha’s name was changed to Ellas B. Gussie Mc Daniel became his legal guardian and sent him to school.
Diddley had lived in Archer, Fla., near Gainesville, where he owned 76 acres and a recording studio.
His passions were fishing and old cars, including a 1969 purple Cadillac hearse. Diddley’s marriages was to Sylvia Paiz, in 1992; his spokeswoman, Ms. His survivors include his children, Evelyn Kelly, Ellas A. Mc Daniel and Terri Lynn Mc Daniel; a brother, the Rev.
His first marriage, at 18, to Louise Woolingham, lasted less than a year.
His second marriage, in 1949, to Ethel Smith, unraveled in the late 1950s.
He then moved from Chicago to Washington, settling in the Mount Pleasant district, where he built a studio in his home.
Separated from his wife, he was performing in Birmingham, Ala., when, backstage, he met a young door-to-door magazine saleswoman named Kay Reynolds, a fan, who was 15 and white. He pretended she was his sister, he said, to be in a better position to protect her on the road..
The songs were knowing, wisecracking and full of slang, mother wit and sexual cockiness. So were his live performances: trancelike ruckuses instigated by a large man with a strange-looking guitar.