Bo Diddley is one of the few artists who can claim to have invented—or at least perfected—his own beat. His African-influenced guitar rhythm—what became known as the “Bo Diddley beat”—helped R&B evolve into rock ‘n' roll, ushering in a new sound that influenced the likes of Elvis and Buddy Holly. Early in his career he spent time playing on street corners and in bars in Chicago, until he landed a record deal with Checker in 1955. His first single went to No. 1, kicking off a long, influential career. Many tunes became rock standards, covered by The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and countless others.