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Bo Diddley coming to the Gorge

Legend headlines Saturday concert

The 7th Annual Columbia RiverFest will be held on the banks of the Columbia River on Saturday, July 26th.

This year's entertainment features Bo Diddley, the "originator of rock".

Not only is he a legend performer, but he has written a vast multitude of songs for performers including Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Who.

At 74, Bo Diddley is a legend in his own time.

A pioneer in music, he is often called the "originator of rock" and rightly so. Every morning at 4 a.m., he walks into his double-wide trailer on his 76 acre property outside Gainesville to write the music that has made him famous. Surrounded by several electric guitars and crammed with various equipment, the makeshift recording studio is piled with unreleased tapes of new songs.

Bo Diddley shaped popular music half a century ago and is still going strong. Reviews of his recent performances are outstanding. He often draws a younger crowd that walks away in awe. In 2002, he received the Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) Icon Award as a founder of rock n' roll. Performers from Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and Jimi Hendrix to Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen were influenced by the sounds of Bo Diddley.

Diddley mastered unique uses of the electric guitar, including special effects like reverb, tremolo and distortion that influenced rock and funk bands in the 1960's and heavy metal groups in the 1970's.

Onstage he is a powerful presence, strutting and singing his wisecracking songs like ''Hey, Bo Diddley.''. His lyrical rants predate modern rap. ''I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob,'' he says with pride and a touch of anger.

Jesus Presley, a RiverFest favorite, will also play on July 26. This will be the band's last summer together in the Northwest.

The Rose City Kings, a Portland sensation, will be playing rockin' rhythm and blues and the New Iberians will start out the musical evening with zydeco at 5 p.m..


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