Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Bo Diddley" Military Cadence (examples & sound file)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post presents three examples of the United States military cadence entitled "Bo Diddley".

The content of this post is provided for cultural, recreational, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who honorable serve in the military. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to those who are featured in this YouTube sound file and the publisher of this sound file that is featured in this post.

Related link:


Kyle Union, March 30, 2012
Here's my transcription of this cadence:

Instructions: The group repeats each line without the beginning word (“well-a” and “if”)

Hey hey Bo Diddley
Hey hey Bo Diddley Bo
Hey hey Bo Diddley
Hey hey Bo Diddley Bo

Well-a Bo Diddly, Bo Diddly have you heard
Well-a Mama gonna buy you a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird don't sing
Well-a Mama gonna buy you a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring don't shine
Well-a Mama’s gonna buy you a bottle of wine
This is only an excerpt of this cadence.

Here's an example that was posted on a military cadence website [Warning- Many examples of military cadence contain of profanity, excessive violence, and sexually explicit content.]

From February 19, 2012

Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley where you been? Down in Texas drinkin’ gin! What you gonna do when you get back? Run it all out on the PT track!
These examples show how closely the song "Bo Diddley" is related to its source song "Hambone" ("Hambone Hambone Where You Been").

Here's another example of this cadence
posted by Charles.young580, 2010 [reformatted for this post]
" has many Cadence calls. The one i like is
Bo Diddly. Bo Diddly, Bo Diddly, where you been?
I've been around the world and i'm going again.
Bo Diddly, Bo Diddly have you heard,
we're going to jump from a big iron bird.
If my my shute don't open wide,
I'll be splattered over the countryside.
Tell my girl i did my best
and bury me in the leaning rest, Hey Bo Diddly.

Source(s): served 20 years "
This version combines lines from "Hambone" with lines from the military cadence "C-130".

Click this page of my cultural website for more (family friendly) examples of cadences (jodies)

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Visitor comments are welcome.


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  2. For most of the cold war this one cadence kept soldiers and trainees moving during PT runs. What many did not know was the history of the beat itself. In 1955 Ed Sullivan introduced this beat which originated out of Harlem from a street singer looking to be discovered. The name itself,
    "Bo Diddley" was a prize fighter from Chicago who found his fame in music on stage who created this up tempo beat and made it famous. And has been used ever since for it's perfect timing mile after mile step after step be it walking or running this beat could work and will continue to move our troops of the future. For some original songs check youtube -

    1. Greetings, Robert Hanson.

      Thanks for your comment.

      With regard to what is often called "the Bo Diddley beat", although that beat was popularized by Bo Diddley, it actually is much older that that musician/singer/composer.

      Here's some information about that beat from
      "The "Bo Diddley Beat" (1955) is perhaps the first true fusion of 3-2 clave and R&B/rock 'n' roll.
      The Bo Diddley beat is essentially a 3-2 clave rhythm, one of the most common bell patterns found in Afro-Cuban music, and its origin goes back to the sub-Saharan African music traditions.[5] The Latin connection was so strong that Bo Diddley used maracas as a basic component of his sound.[6] Bo Diddley has given different accounts regarding how he began to use this rhythm. In an interview with Rolling Stones magazine, Diddley said he came up with the beat after listening to Gospel music in church when he was 12 years old.[7]

      ...The Bo Diddley beat is also akin to the age-old rhythmic pattern best known as "shave and a haircut, two bits." And it's been linked to Yoruba drumming from West Africa.[6]
      In its simplest form, the Bo Diddley beat can be counted out as either a one-bar, or a two-bar phrase. Here is the count as a one-bar phrase: One e and ah, two e and ah, three e and ah, four e and ah. The bolded counts are the clave rhythm.

      Songs using the Bo Diddley Beat.[prior to 1955]

      Three years before Bo's "Bo Diddley" (1955), a song similar syncopation "Hambone", was cut by Red Saunders' Orchestra with The Hambone Kids. In 1944, "Rum and Coca Cola", containing the Bo Diddley beat, was recorded by The Andrews Sisters ... This rhythm occurs in 13 rhythm and blues recordings made in the years 1944–55, including two by Johnny Otis from 1948.[13]"...

    2. Also, click for a pancocojams post that presents various theories about how Bo Diddley got his name.