Saturday Songwriting: Welcome to the Bo Diddley Beat

“Welcome to the Jungle” is not a song I’ll be covering anytime soon. Nor will emulating Slash blazing through a guitar solo (not for lack of wanting to). So what can an Americana Aficionado like myself, (and likely yourself too), glean from a song like Welcome to the Jungle which lands at #467 on Rolling Stones list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

A surprising amount.  

There’s the simple idea of taking a melody and moving that pattern around on the guitar. Lots of blues songs do that. (Plenty songs in other styles too). But as useful as that idea is, it’s not very exciting.

I guess if I were stuck for anything else to share in this I’d use that but I found something better.

A lot better.

Something that connects Gun’s N’ Roses, to The Band, to George Micheal to Roger Rabbit.  

It’s the Bo Diddley Beat (or, as Keith Wyatt points out, “Shave and a Hair Cut, Two Bits” which knocks off the Roger Rabbit connection).

The Bo Diddley Beat is kind of irresistible—as Roger Rabbit demonstrated here

What songs have used this Rhythm? 

A whole bunch by Bo Diddley obviously, as well as “Faith” by George Michael, “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow, “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly, and of course, “Welcome to the Jungle” uses a version of the beat too.  

There’s one more connection that really surprised me when it came up while i was playing around with the Rhythm. One with a huge connection to Americana and classic rock.   

I teased it a little earlier and you’ll find it in the video.  


The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Anastasia Trusova’s art. Find out more about Anastasia’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

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