Prince's halftime preview
Feb 2 / 2007
By Evelyn McDonnell
Looking as elfin, mischievous, sexy, and utterly Princelike as ever, the artist formerly known as a glyph stepped to the mike at the Super Bowl entertainment press conference Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. ''We hope we don't rock your ears too much,'' Prince said. He was, of course, lying, as he was when he then said he would take questions - and as soon as a hapless reporter spoke up, ripped into an extremely loud version of Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.
Prince demonstrated his musical versatility by playing rock, pop, funk and salsa in a 10-minute show with his band. If it's a preview of his halftime performance, expect a real musical event, not an over-choreographed, lip-synced music-video wannabe.
It'll be a risky Super Bowl in general, judging by the presser. Many football fans will undoubtedly be scratching their heads at the preshow performance featuring the contortionists, clowns and mimes of Cirque du Soleil performing in colorful, cartoonish costumes by Miami-based artist Romero Britto to the dance tracks of Louie Vega.
Even the seemingly safe bet Billy Joel is a bit of a wild card. In a week that's all about hype, he was amusingly blase about his upcoming rendition of the National Anthem. What would he be thinking as he performed such a moving song in front of millions? ''Don't forget the words,'' the piano man deadpanned. ``I'm kind of an old dinosaur doing this now. Prince is doing the work. He is truly an icon.''
Memorial Evening to honor the legendary Ruth Brown set for Monday, January 22 in New York City
Jan 20 / 2007
By The Press Staff
PHILADELPHIA, PA (Top 40 Charts / Rhythm & Blues Foundation) - The life of the incomparable Ruth Brown, whose musical legacy was matched by her fight for royalty reform for herself and other artists, will be celebrated in a memorial service held on January 22, 2007, at 6:00 PM at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 Odell Clark Place, New York, NY, it was announced by Kendall Minter, Chair of The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
The evening event will feature tributes from Brown's musical peers, including Little Jimmy Scott, Mabel John and Chuck Jackson. In addition, Little Richard will attend as well as other contemporaries and well-known fans.
Known internationally as "Miss Rhythm," Ruth Brown's long and celebrated music career began in the late 1940s. In the early 1950s she was Atlantic Records' best-selling female performer and the record label became known as "the house that Ruth built." Some of her enduring hits were "5-10-15 Hours," "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean," "Teardrops From My Eyes," "So Long" and "Don't Deceive Me." Ruth Brown had sixteen Top Ten blues records that included five Number 1 hits.
Brown's musical career was resurrected in the mid-70s when she earned accolades for her theatrical performances. Her stage career began when she played gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the civil rights musical "Selma." She also appeared in Allen Toussaint's Off-Broadway musical "Stagger Lee." Three years later she appeared in the hit musical "Black & Blue" in Paris. "Black & Blue" moved to Broadway where Ms. Brown won the Tony award for "Best Actress in a Musical." Director John Waters gave Brown the chance to create the role "Motormouth Mable" in the cult classic film "Hairspray." She was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 1993.
Brown is remembered for her ardent fight for royalty reform, as well as for her musical contributions. By testifying before Congress, Brown brought public attention to the practices of record companies that left many early rhythm and blues artists impoverished. Her efforts resulted in remuneration for herself and other artists, and to the formation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
Ruth Weston Brown, who died on November 17, 2006 from complications following a heart attack and stroke she suffered after surgery, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 12, 1928. She was 78 years old. Ms. Brown learned to sing at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where her father directed the choir. At 17 she ran away from home to begin her career as a singer and later married trumpeter Jimmy Brown.
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation, part of the legacy of Ruth Brown, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the historical and cultural preservation of Rhythm and Blues music. Founded in 1988, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation provides archival, educational and performance programs to build appreciation of the contribution of Rhythm and Blues to the world's musical heritage. The provision of financial and medical assistance to distressed artists is also a cornerstone of the Foundation's services. As a Founding Director and a champion for artists' rights, Ruth Brown played a central role in shaping the Foundation's mission, programs and services.
Jerry Lee Lewis' swagger untamed 5 decades later
The Paramus Post
Jan 19 / 2007
By George Varga
What's Kid Rock got that Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and country-music icons Merle Haggard and George Jones don't?
Musically speaking, not much, although all of them are featured on "Last Man Standing," the surprisingly robust new album by Jerry Lee Lewis that also features B.B. King, Neil Young and 14 other all-star guests.
But Rock, the rap, rock and country vocal upstart from Detroit whose soon-to-be ex-wife is Pamela Anderson, has swagger and attitude to spare. That's why he reminds Lewis - the pioneering rock 'n' roll singer-pianist whose nickname is "The Killer" - of, well, Lewis himself.
"He does remind me some of me. He's a good boy," said Lewis, 71, who has raised more hell and generated more controversy than Rock can dream of matching. "Kid inspired me and got me kind of fired up."
So fired up that Lewis, who had not recorded a new album since 1995's "Young Blood," is assuming a high profile again after years of semi-retirement. Rock, for one, is delighted. "I would put him on Mount Rushmore. He is a legend and a hero," he said of Lewis.
"Just get me a piano and give me the money," Lewis said.
He lives in a ranch-style home in Nesbit, Miss. - which he shares with his daughter, Phoebe, 42, and his nine pet dogs - 25 miles south of Memphis. It was there, in 1956, that the then 20-year-old Lewis was signed by Sun Records' honcho Sam Phillips. His first Sun release, the uproarious "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On," made him an instant star.
"When Sam heard me, he said: 'I can sell that!' He was really enthusiastic about it," Lewis recalled. An astute talent scout, Phillips is famous for having signed the young Elvis Presley. He was also instrumental in launching the careers of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and - in early 1951 - Ike Turner.
Yet, while rock 'n' roll was largely created by Turner, Fats Domino and many other vital black musicians, Presley is generally credited with introducing the music to mainstream (read: white) America in the mid-1950s.
"No," Lewis said. "I introduced rock 'n' roll to the world with 'Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On.' Elvis? He was rockabilly; he wasn't really rock 'n' roll. When I came out with 'Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On,' that was rock 'n' roll."
Lewis' stage shows were riotous affairs that saw him regularly kick his piano stool across the stage as he pounded out rollicking riffs like a man possessed. The son of a sharecropper and his wife, the Louisiana-born Lewis scored all of his biggest hits in the 1950s. They included "Breathless," "High School Confidential" and the Otis Blackwell-penned "Great Balls of Fire," which was quickly banned by many radio stations because of its more than suggestive lyrics.
Those lyrics were so salacious that Lewis, the cousin of disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, initially refused to record "Great Balls of Fire" because he believed the song was the work of the devil. Its release came soon after his third marriage, in late 1957, to his 13-year-old second cousin, Myra Gale Brown. At the time, Lewis hadn't bothered to divorce either of his first two wives. The ensuing scandal, fueled by a media frenzy during his subsequent concert tour of England, sent Lewis' career plummeting.
He would marry four more times after he and Brown split up in 1970, and two of his later wives died under mysterious circumstances.
Not surprisingly, questions about his ex-wives usually prompt Lewis to curtail his interviews. But he did admit to having regrets. "Well, I'd change a lot of things," he said, while declining to be more specific. "I would change a lot of ways of living - I'd do that - and a lot of things I did and a lot of things I do. That goes without saying."
Five years in the making, Lewis' new album could have been a rote affair by an over-the-hill rocker. Instead, it's a vital work that has earned rave reviews and rocks with vigor from the first bars of its opening cut, Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll."
"Jerry had never heard the Led Zeppelin song before," said Jimmy Ripp, who co-produced "Last Man Standing" with Hollywood film producer Steve Bing. "This was absolutely a Jerry Lee album from the beginning, and the duets part didn't start until sometime later. It was a very organic project and nothing was forced."
Lewis, a man who in his prime made album guest Keith Richards seem like a pussycat by comparison, had been in a divorce-fueled funk before he made "Last Man Standing" and even asked Ripp and Bing if he could record his parts at home in bed. But the music perked him up, and he easily holds his own whether duetting with such musical contemporaries as Little Richard or with younger admirers like Toby Keith.
"Without attitude and inspiration and fire behind your music, you don't have anything," said Lewis, who is now at work with Ripp and Bing on two new albums, one rock, one gospel. "But I hope people remember me for my music, and not for my wild and woolly ways."
Rock'n'roller Joan Jett is used to setting trends, breaking barriers
Courier & Press
Jan 18 / 2007
By Gordon Engelhardt
Imagine the thoughts running through the heads of the conservative, so-called high rollers, when they first saw the spiked haircut of Blackhearts guitarist Dougie Needles as Joan Jett and her band took the stage at Casino Aztar in May 2005.
Jett, who played at the legendary CBGB's punk rock club in New York before it closed last fall, calls it conquering the unconquerable. Jett and the Blackhearts will return to Aztar on Friday and Saturday, with two performances each night.
"If people are coming into a rock 'n' roll show expecting to see white cake and lace and gingerbread or something (they're misinformed)," Jett said. "They should expect something they're not used to seeing. Then again, I'm not looking to insult people. I want them to have a good time. Definitely by being a woman in rock, just by the nature of that, it's political in its own sense. I don't have to do much more than be myself."
Jett doesn't shy away from controversial material on "Sinner,"
her critically acclaimed album released last year. Consider her originals "Fetish" and "Naked," plus a cover of the Replacements' "Androgynous" and a cover of Sweet's "A.C.D.C."
Too many people are posers, Jett said.
"So many things these days are a pose or a little fashion," she said. "Rock 'n' roll is part of fashion. It's your essence, too. I've always pushed the edge a little bit by the way I've dressed (studs-and-leather). By the very nature of what I do, playing guitar and being a woman, I am not acting at all."
A trend-setter popular among punkers and indie rockers, Jett is also a barrier-breaker. She's crossed over into the mainstream well enough to gain nine Top 40 hit singles, including the No. 1 smash "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in 1982, plus eight gold and platinum albums.
Apparently Jett speaks to the underdogs who love various musical styles. She notes that when she helped form the all-girl band the Runaways in 1975, their music was considered straight-ahead rock 'n' roll. The term "punk rock" hadn't even been coined yet.
Music journalist Dave Marsh once described Jett as the "female Chuck Berry."
"It's very humbling," Jett said. "I've known Dave Marsh for a long time, from the Runaways days. He was always a writer who was very well-respected. To say something like that, it's a most high compliment.
"I've had the pleasure of meeting Chuck Berry, and I've played with Chuck Berry. That's quite an amazing thing, too. I'm totally honored to be called that. I'm not sure people agree with him."
While some musical figures grow tired of churning out their hits, performance after performance, Jett said she made her peace long ago with playing "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."
"Having to make that decision, resenting the bigness of 'Rock 'n' Roll,' a song that the audience enjoys so much, makes me crazy," she said. "I'm glad I'm attached to it."
Massive May Day concert in Rome
Ansa - Turismo Lazio
April 27 / 2007
By the press staff
(ANSA) - ROMA, 27 APR - Adriano Cementano won't be there - nothing could be done about it. The showman thanked organizers for the invitation to take part in the traditional 'Concertone' (big concert) that will take place on May Day in Rome's Piazza San Giovanni square, but he declined. However, there will be lots of other stars on stage, starting with one of the fathers of rock - Chuck Berry. His presence is a special surprise to help pay mark the 50th anniversary of the start of Italian rock'n'roll.
This will be the theme of this year's Concertone, which will be screened on the Rai3 channel and presented by Paolo Rossi, Claudia Gerini and Andrea Rivera. Huge crowds are expected for the May Day festival and Rome Prefect Achille Serra has prepared a plan with the City Council, which features the free distribution of bottles of water, the set up of temporary toilets in the S.Giovanni area and a special transport lane for the water trucks. Serra also called on the public to use the S.Giovanni and Re di Roma metro stations on the way home - the metro will be open until 2am. This year special trains have not been organized for people coming in from outside Rome.
Although the hoped-for appearance by Adriano Celentano in piazza San Giovanni did not come off - ''I'll be one of the millions of people following you on TV,'' the singer said - lots of stars have confirmed they will be coming, including Khaled, Enzo Avitabile, Daniele Silvestri, Pfm, Nomadi, Tiromancino, Carmen Consoli, Loredana Berté, Modena City Ramblers, Casino Royale, Velvet, Afterhours, Bandabardo', Africa Unite, Tullio De Piscopo, Apres La Classe, Riccardo Sinigallia, Irene Grandi, Avion Travel, Tetes de Bois, Mauro Pagani and Le Vibrazioni, and Enrico Capuano with Piotta. The organizers could not arrange the set Fabrizio Moro, the winner of the young talent section of the Sanremo song contest, was meant to perform with Raiz and Neffa.
Some people have said the cast of performers is not as illustrious as in previous years. ''If Vasco Rossi or Ligabue aren't here, people start talking about a show that's not up to scratch,'' replied Sergio Rubino, one of the artists taking part. ''Having Oasis in 2002 was a major coup, but then we realized that they were totally useless live,'' said organizer Marco Godano. ''We're looking for quality, not quantity.
We were also short of time. We wanted Dylan, but we would have had to have booked him a year in advance and financial and political uncertainties prevented us from doing so.'' ''Rock has been an element to make a break with and for many of us it is linked to the concept of starting again,'' said Cgil trade union Chief Epifani. ''Italy has to make a fresh start, starting from the world labour, which is the nation's real wealth.'' ''Rock has told the stories of the hopes and suffering of the workplace,'' said Italian trade unionist Bonanni, who cited Dylan's last album. Angeletti of the Uil trade union reiterated the need to eradicate the problem of black-market labour and added: ''the country needs a big hope for the future, one that is closely linked to the world of work''.
Publicist: Bo Diddley hospitalized after stroke
May 16 / 2007
By the press staff
OMAHA, Neb. - Singer Bo Diddley has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. A press release from his publicist says the singer and songwriter was stricken after a performance on Saturday, May 12.
The release says he showed signs of disorientation in a show in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.
The release says tests indicate Diddley had a stroke that has affected the left side of his brain, impairing his speech and speech recognition. He's in intensive care and his condition is listed as guarded.
Stroke leaves Bo Diddley struggling to communicate
May 17 / 2007
By Carey Gillam
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Rock'n'roll pioneer Bo Diddley, hospitalized by a stroke on Sunday, was up and walking around on Thursday but still struggling to communicate, his long-time manager and friend told Reuters.
"I'm truly encouraged by the way he is responding", Margo Lewis said in an interview from the hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, where the 78-year-old guitarist, singer and songwriter was rushed on Sunday following a concert.
Lewis said the stroke had left Diddley with no physical disability but had affected the left side of his brain, impairing his speech and speech recognition.
She said it was too early to tell if he would be able to recover enough to perform again.
"He is having a hard time understanding us... We're hopeful he can come back", Lewis said.
Diddley, who has a history of hypertension and diabetes, showed signs of disorientation following a concert at Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was admitted to the hospital with elevated blood pressure and glucose levels.
Known for his low-slung, boxy guitar and a fuzzy, vibrating instrumental style, Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1998.
A black man, Diddley was among the pioneering artists to cross the American racial divide and appeal to white audiences. Born Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi, his earliest records were contemporaneous with those of his labelmate, Chuck Berry.
While Diddley produced few chart-topping hits, his music was tremendously influential in the evolution of rock'n'roll in the 1950s and early 1960s.
He popularized what became known as the Bo Diddley beat and is author of such rock'n'roll classics as "Who Do You Love", "Mona", "Before You Accuse Me" and "I'm a Man".
His unique guitar playing and rhythm influenced generations of rockers from Elvis Presley to Bon Jovi. Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi made guest appearances on his records, and Diddley played with the likes of The Clash and The Grateful Dead.
Diddley also had roles in several movies, including "Trading Places", "Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll", and "Blues Brothers 2000".
(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles)
Bo Diddley's condition improves in hospital four days after his stroke
May 17 / 2007
By Eric Olson
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Four days after suffering a stroke, Bo Diddley walked around the intensive-care unit at a Nebraska hospital and doctors were encouraged that the singer-songwriter-guitarist would be able to perform again, his manager said.
The 78-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer told his audience he was not feeling well during a show in Iowa on Saturday. Diddley's manager, Margo Lewis, said she had Diddley taken to the hospital by ambulance when he appeared disoriented Sunday.
Diddley's speech is impaired but he has made significant progress.
"We're going to get a guitar for him and put it in his lap and let him entertain people here", Lewis said. "People think that would be good therapy for him".
Diddley, with his black glasses and low-slung guitar, has been an icon in the music industry since he topped the R&B charts with "Bo Diddley" in 1955. His other hits include "Who Do You Love", "Before You Accuse Me", "Mona" and "I'm a Man".
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was given a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1998.
Lewis said it is uncertain how long Diddley, who has a history of hypertension and diabetes, will be hospitalized.
He played two Saturday night shows at Harrah's Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs. He planned to fly home to Archer, Fla, before starting a monthlong tour of the Midwest and United Kingdom on May 20 in Dallas.
"Those shows are cancelled", Lewis said, but she believes Diddley will sing again, even though he'll require speech therapy first.
"Singing a song is different than speaking", she said. "Even when there is a problem with speaking, or hesitancy, we've seen where people can sing perfectly".
Local musician Topper Price dies
The Birmingham News
May 18 / 2007
By Mary Colurso
Terry O'Neil "Topper" Price, one of the most recognizable figures on Birmingham's music scene, died Wednesday May 16 at his Southside apartment.
Mr. Price, 54, a blues-rock singer and harmonica player, made his fame here over 20 years with colorful, gritty, sometimes wildly exuberant performances at nightclubs and festivals.
The cause of his death is unknown. The Jefferson County Coroner's Office is awaiting tests.
Mr. Price's fiancee, Kelly Casey, said the musician wasn't suffering from illness. "I'm supposed to be planning a wedding, not a funeral", Casey said. "He was an incredible guy. He had one of the kindest hearts I've ever met in my life".
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Thursday. Casey said cremation was likely, followed by a memorial service. Mr. Price was born in the Plateau community near Mobile, and had no close relatives in the Birmingham area, she said.
The musician, did, however, have many friends, fans and colleagues as the result of his frequent concerts at nightspots such as the Garage, 22nd Street Jazz Cafe, Metro Bistro & Market and Ona's Music Room.
Mr. Price also was a mainstay at the City Stages festival, Birmingham Jam, Do Dah Day and events organized by the Magic City Blues Society.
He performed throughout the Southeast and occasionally sat in with high-profile acts such as Gregg Allman, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Delbert McClinton and the Subdudes.
"Topper gave a lot of joy to people in this town", said Paul Walters, president of the blues society. "There was something magnetic about him. He was the top harmonica player in the state, with a unique and powerful style. When you're talking about blues in Birmingham, you're talking about Topper Price".
Mr. Price didn't usually discuss his past with outsiders, but during an interview several years ago with The Birmingham News, he mentioned a tough childhood that was eased by his love of music.
Publicist: Bo Diddley's condition improves
May 19 / 2007
By Alice Wallace
Local rock'n'roll icon Bo Diddley was still in the intensive-care unit at a Nebraska hospital Friday after suffering a stroke following a weekend concert, but a spokeswoman said his condition is improving.
"He is making progress", said Susan Clary, a publicist with Los Angeles-based public relations firm Big Monkey.
Clary said Diddley's condition was upgraded from "guarded" to "cautiously optimistic" Friday by the neurology team that evaluated him.
Diddley is still able to get up and walk around, but he is still having difficulty speaking and recognizing words due to the damage the stroke caused to the left side of his brain, Clary said.
Diddley, who lives near Archer and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was hospitalized after he became disoriented after a concert at a casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 12. He reportedly had not been feeling well for a few days, but Diddley attributed his problems to the smoky conditions in North Florida due to the ongoing wildfires.
Clary said she does not know how much longer Diddley will have to remain in the ICU, or how long it will be until he can return home.
"I don't know much about strokes, but the first couple of weeks are pretty touch and go", she said. "The fact that he's improving every day is just wonderful, though".
Bo Diddley on the mend, asks about gig
May 23 / 2007
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A week after suffering a stroke following a gig in Council Bluffs, Iowa, rock legend Bo Diddley was being transferred yesterday from the intensive care unit to a regular room at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.
It is as yet unknown when Diddley will be well enough to return to his Gainesville, Fla., home, where he is expected to continue treatment at the Shands Medical Center at the University of Florida.
According to his publicist, Diddley is still having trouble speaking but appears to have suffered no long-term physical damage from the stroke.
"I was able to speak with him by phone this morning", his business manager, Faith Fusillo, said in a statement.
"He wanted to know where his stuff was: his guitar and the money from the gig. I was so happy because this is the Bo that I know and love, and a real indication that Bo is on his way back".
Bo Diddley leaves Nebraska hospital for Florida rehab
May 27 / 2007
OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) Musician Bo Diddley, who suffered a stroke after casino performances in Council Bluffs, Iowa, earlier this month, has left a Nebraska hospital, according to a media report.
The 78-year-old singer-guitarist has checked out of Creighton University Medical Center and gone back to Florida, his publicist told the Omaha World-Herald.
Susan Clary said Friday that Diddley has traveled to was admitted at Shands Rehab Hospital near his hometown of Archer.
A hospital spokeswoman would not confirm his admittance or give his condition Saturday.
Diddley, with his black glasses and low-slung guitar, has been an icon in the music industry since he topped the R&B charts with "Bo Diddley" in 1955.
Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was given a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1998.
Bo Diddley Out of Hospital
May 29 / 2007
By Josh Grossberg
Los Angeles (E! Online) - Bo Diddley's getting his beat back.
Rock'n'roll's Originator, who suffered a stroke May 13, has been
released from a Nebraska hospital and transferred to a rehabilitation
facility near his Florida home, his publicist said Tuesday.
Diddley, 78, was released Thursday morning from Creighton University
Medical Center in Omaha, where he has been since suffering the
stroke, Susan Clary said in a statement.
He was then flown by private jet to Gainesville Regional Airport,
where he was greeted by friends and family in a private hanger. The
following day, Clary said, Diddley was transported to Shands Rehab
Hospital and began speech and occupational therapy on Friday. He is
expected to remain at the Gainesville facility for two weeks and will
continue therapy on as an outpatient upon his release.
The publicist said well wishes have poured in from fans around the
world, including messages from Chuck Berry, Elvis Costello and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons.
Considered one of the founders of rock'n'roll, Diddley's eponymous
beat drove such classics as "Bo Diddley", "Say Man" and "Who Do You
Love" and influenced generations of rockers, including Buddy Holly,
the Rolling Stones, U2 and the Clash. He was inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and received a Grammy Lifetime
Achievement Award in 1998.
Bo Diddley's condition slowly improving
May 30 / 2007
By Daniel Zugna
Bo Diddley has begun humming along to country songs on the radio, indicating that he is slowly recovering from a stroke two weeks ago.
His long-time manager Margo Lewis told the Reuters news agency that whilst the 78-year-old rock'n'roll legend is still struggling with basic communication, she believes he is slowly responding to intensive occupational therapy.
"When he gets up in the morning he'll hum while he's brushing his teeth. And when he goes to breakfast he'll start humming along (to) a song", Lewis said. "It'll just come to his head. He's not saying the words but he's humming the tunes".
She added that Diddley has been enjoying listening to the local country and western radio station whilst recovering at the Shands Rehab Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. He moved there last week from the Creighton University Medical Centre in Omaha, Nebraska. He is expected to stay in the rehab hospital for another two weeks, before moving to his nearby 60-acre estate.
Diddley can walk, but talking is a challenge
May 30 / 2007
By Lise Fisher
Rock'n'roll legend and area resident Bo Diddley is working hard at a Gainesville hospital to overcome speech problems stemming from a stroke earlier this month, his manager said Tuesday.
Diddley, 78, returned to Alachua County last week after he had been hospitalized at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. He suffered a stroke on May 13 after a weekend concert at an Iowa casino.
Now at Shands Rehab Hospital, Diddley is expected to remain at the facility for two weeks. He is receiving occupational and speech therapy. After returning home, he'll continue with therapy.
Diddley's manager Margo Lewis said no one knows how long the therapy will take.
Diddley's motor skills were unaffected by the stroke, Lewis said. And his vital signs are good.
The stroke caused damage to the left side of Diddley's brain, and he continues to have problems with his speech and recognizing words.
"He is able to speak, and then there are times when he has a problem speaking", Lewis said.
"I think he's aware that it's not coming out right. It's sad to see a very vital man struggle in that way", she said. "We're grateful there are no physical signs of a stroke. He walks. He can move. But his speech being taken away from him is a very big thing for him. He has the gift of gab".
Diddley's shows include a mixture of old and new music along with storytelling from the man considered one of the co-founders of American rock'n'roll.
Lewis said there is no talk of retirement even though she couldn't say when Diddley might return to the stage.
"We're all treating this as an illness. We're mentally trying to just get through this, and there's no indication that we can't do that", she said.
Before the stroke, Diddley had been scheduled to leave the last week of May for a tour in England. "We were going to do 12 shows in 18 days, and we were going to do it by bus. I'm sure he's disappointed that he's not doing it. The last time he toured in the UK was many years ago. Everyone was so excited that he was going to this", Lewis said.
The tour, she said, isn't being described as canceled, but postponed.
"Hopefully he will be better", she said.
For the time being, Diddley's regimen at the hospital includes a few visits and hours of therapy during the day, both before and after lunch.
"It's a full day", Lewis said.
After Diddley was first hospitalized, Lewis said, they were going to get a guitar for him so he could entertain people, which some thought would be good therapy for the musician.
Now, Lewis said, the focus is on the occupational and speech therapy, which doctors advised needed to be concentrated and start as soon as possible.
But, she said, "He actually hums a lot in the morning when he has breakfast".
Although many people may want to visit Diddley, Lewis stressed that few are allowed to see him because the emphasis now is on his therapy.
Among those who have sent messages to Diddley are musicians Chuck Berry, Elvis Costello and Billy Gibbons.
"Bo hopes that all his friends will honor his wishes so he can get better quickly", Lewis said. "That's the most important message at this time. To let him do the work and keep saying the prayers".
Fans have been asked not to contact the hospital but can send messages through firstname.lastname@example.org or TCI (Talent Consultants International, Ltd.), 105 Shad Row, 2nd Floor, Piermont, N.Y. 10968.
Bo Diddley suffering a heart attack
Aug 28 / 2007
By The Press Staff
Bo Diddley was in stable condition at a Florida hospital after suffering a heart attack. The 78-year-old singer-guitarist complained of dizziness and nausea during a routine medical checkup Friday, said publicist Susan Clary.
She said Diddley suffered a heart attack after being taken to North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville. The hospital is near his hometown of Archer. Susan Clary said the musician was in stable condition at the hospital's cardiac care unit after spending the weekend in intensive care.
"He is conscious", she said. "The situation is very serious".
In May, Diddley was hospitalized in Nebraska after suffering a stroke after casino performances in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was soon transferred to Florida.
Bo Diddley out of the hospital
Sep 5 / 2007
By Natalie Finn
The 78-year-old rock'n'roll pioneer was released Saturday from the Florida hospital where he was recovering from a heart attack he suffered last month, according to his publicist, Susan Clary.
After complaining of dizziness and nausea during a routine doctor's appointment on Aug. 24, Diddley was admitted to North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville, where he then had a stent implanted to improve blood flow.
"With his health greatly improved, Diddley is happy to be home with his family and away from the hospital food", Clary said. The musician lives in nearby Archer, in north-central Florida.
Diddley, best known for beat-happy hits such as "Who Do You Love" and "I'm a Man", as well as for his signature square-shaped guitar, has been on the mend for much of 2007.
He suffered a stroke in May after a performance in Idaho and was hospitalized for several weeks in Nebraska. Diddley was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Florida to undergo physical therapy to help correct the damage done to his speech and speech recognition skills.
The R&B legend, who also suffers from diabetes and has lost several toes to the disease in recent years, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.