Monday, September 10, 2012

Bo Diddley - Dearest Darling (Sound File, Lyrics, And Comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides a sound file & lyrics of Bo Diddley's 1957 Rock and Roll song "Dearest Darling". This post also includes my comments about that song & Bo Diddley's use of adapted African American religious verses and African American folk verses in many of his songs.

The content of this post is provided for folkloric, and entertainment purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

FEATURED SOUND FILE: Bo Diddley Dearest Darling Checker 78rpm

Uploaded by JOHN KENNEDY on May 3, 2010

Monster blues bop by the mighty Bo. This was the B side to his 1958 release 'Hush Your Mouth' This is my favourite Diddley release and it can still pack the dance floor to this day. RIP Mr Diddley

(Bo Diddley)

Dearest darling
Dearest darling
Dearest darling, yeah

Verse 1:
Don't you know the Lord above
Created you
Just for me to love
Picked you out
From all the rest
Because He knew
I loved you best

Dearest darling
Dearest darling
Dearest yeah darling
Take my hand
Take my hand

Verse #2:
I once had a heart
So tender and true
But now it's gone
From me to you
Take care of it
Like I have done
For you have two hearts
and I have none

Dearest oh oh oh oh, darling
Dearest darling
Dearest, yeah yeah,
dearest, yeah yeah
Dearest, yeah yeah,
Dearest, yeah yeah
Darling, yeah yeah,
Darling, yeah yeah

Verse #3
If I get to Heaven
Before you do
I'll try to make a hole
And pull you through

Woh, dearest, dearest
Dearest, dearest, aah

If I go to Heaven
And you not there
I'm gonna write your name
On the Heavenly stairs
If you aren't there
By judgement day
Then I'll know baby
You went the other way

Woh, dearest, dearest
Woh, dearest, yeah yeah yeah
Oh oh sweet baby
Oh sweet baby
Yeah yeah yeah.

[This is a basic transcription by Azizi Powell from the sound file of this song. Corrections and additions are welcome.]

"Ellas Otha Bates (December 30, 1928 – June 2, 2008), known by his stage name Bo Diddley, was an American rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist, songwriter (usually as Ellas McDaniel), and rock and roll pioneer"...
Like most of his songs, some verses of Bo Diddley's "Dearest Darling" are witty adaptations of earlier non-religious and/or religious songs from African American traditions. For example, take this verse from Bo Diddley's "Dearest Darling" song:
"If I get to heaven
Before you do
I'll try to make a hole
And pull you through"
That verse is an adaption of this African American Spiritual/Gospel floating verse:
If you get there
before I do,
Look out for me
I'm coming through.
[from the song "Ain't Gonna Grieve My Lord No More" in Thirty-six South Carolina Spirituals edited by Carl Diton, G. Schirmer, Inc. NY 1928, posted on]
Another version of that floating verse, from my memory of various Spirituals, is
"If you get to heaven before I do
Just tell my friends I'm coming too."
A secular adaptation of that verse is sometimes used for the song "Oh You Can't Get To Heaven" (also known as "Ain't Gonna Grieve My Lord No More"). Here's an example of that verse:
"If you get to Heaven before I do,
Just drill a hole and pull me through."

The concept of "making" (or digging) a hole in heaven and pulling someone through so that she or he can also be in heaven is one that I've read in other earlier African American secular songs. I think that concept is similar to this verse that is found in the song entitled "Plaster" that is included in Thomas W. Talley's now classic 1922 collection entitled Negro Folk Songs: Wise & Otherwise:
Mammy an' daddy's dead an' gone.
Did you ever hear deir story?
Dey sticked some plasters on deir heels,
An' drawed 'em up to Glory!"
Click to find a digitalized version of Talley's book. Additional examples of African American secular songs can also be found on this page of my Cocojams website:

To cite two examples of Bo Diddley songs that are based on adapted folk verses, the song "Bo Diddley" is an adaptation of the song "Mockingbird" ("Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry"). And the song "Hey Bo Diddley" is an adaptation of the 19th century African American song "Hambone".

Bo Diddley also used the pattin Juba "Hambone" beat in so many of his songs that that rhythm is often called "the Bo Diddley beat".

Click fot more information about the Rock and Roll legend Bo Diddley and his songs.


My thanks to the Bo Diddley for his musical legacy. Thanks also to the uploader of the sound file that is featured in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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