Bo Diddley

I'm a Man

Composed by Bo Diddley

Song Review by

Almost as famous as the opening four notes from TV's Dragnet, the opening four-note riff from Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" is certainly the most recognizable blues lick in the world. Adapted from the stop-time figure utilized in Muddy Waters' recording of Willie Dixon's "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," Diddley simply dispensed with the regular blues progression and just kept repeating the four-note riff over and over, creating a trance-inducing piece of music and male bragadaccio in the bargain. Because the tune was so simple, it was also easily imitated, spinning off numerous cover versions and tunes based around the same riff. Certainly one of the most spirited covers was by the Yardbirds, complete with double-time rave-up guitar solo courtesy of Jeff Beck, which inspired several other covers of that arrangement alone by various garage bands. Diddley himself would recycle the riff on several follow-ups like "I'm Bad," "500% More Man," "Oh Yeah," and "Shut Up, Woman." Even stranger was Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy," loosely based on Diddley's tune with added verses, Waters recording the tune in answer to Bo using his riff from "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man," art imitating life imitating art. But the original is still the champ, speaking to every macho-infested romantic notion most people have about the blues.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bo Diddley [1957] 1957 Spectrum Records 2:45
No Image 1962 Not Now Music
The Story of Bo Diddley 1964 Pye 2:59
No Image 1972
Original Soundtrack
Bell 2:22
I'm a Man [MF] 1977 Charly Records 2:59
No Image 1978
Various Artists
Festival Records
No Image 1981 Chess
No Image 1983 Chess
Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley 1986 Chess 2:41
The Blues, Vol. 2 [Chess/MCA] 1987
Various Artists
Chess 2:46
The Chess Box 1990 Chess / Universal 3:00
No Image 1990
Various Artists
MCA
Best of Bo Diddley [JCI] 1990 JCI Associated Labels 2:47
Rare & Well Done 1991 Chess 3:05
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Rock Classics - The Originals 1991
Various Artists
2:45
Blues Masters, Vol. 2: Postwar Chicago Blues 1992
Various Artists
Rhino 2:47
Bo's Blues 1993 Ace 3:00
Led Zeppelin's Sources of Inspiration 1995
Various Artists
Blues Classics [MCA] 1996
Various Artists
Geffen / Interscope 3:01
I Pionieri del Soul 1996
Various Artists
La Republica 2:59
His Best 1997 Chess 3:02
The Chess Blues-Rock Songbook: The Classic Originals 1997
Various Artists
MCA / Chess / Universal 3:03
Chess Blues Classics: 1947-1956 1997
Various Artists
Interscope / Universal 3:03
Story of Blues, Vol. 1: Originals 1998
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 2:40
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Star Pool / Universal
Great 1998 Goldies 2:46
Spirit of Blues 1998
Various Artists
Wagram 10:26
Rockin' the Blues 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Bcd
No Image 1999
Original Television Soundtrack
Playtone Records / Sony Music Distribution 2:44
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bo Diddley 2000 MCA / Universal Distribution 3:02
The Essential Bo Diddley 2001 Spectrum Music
The London Rock & Roll Show [CD] 2002
Various Artists
The Store for Music 9:44
Blues-Rock Songbook: Millennium Collection - 20th Century Masters 2003
Various Artists
MCA 3:00
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:47
Legends of Rock 'N' Roll [Eagle Vision] 2004
Various Artists
Eagle Vision
Vamp 2005 Universe 10:57
Hey 2005
Hey
Legacy 10:57
The Universal Masters Collection 2005 Universal Distribution
Bo Diddley/I'm a Man 2005 Island
Mojo Chess Originals 2005
Various Artists
Chess 3:01
Blues: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:01
50 Rock and Roll Originals 2006
Various Artists
Delta 3:00
R&B Jukebox Hits 1955, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Acrobat 3:00
20th Century Masters: Best of Blues, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:02
The  Blues Biography 2006 AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 10:57
Black & White Blues Guitars 2006
Various Artists
Music Avenue 2:53
Bo's the Man 2006 Blue Label / SPV / SPV Blue Label 10:38
The Story of Bo Diddley: The Very Best of Bo Diddley 2006 Universal International 2:59
No Image 2007 Collecting 10:57
The Definitive Collection 2007 Geffen/Chess 3:02
Bada Bing! Music Heard on the Sopranos 2007
Original Soundtrack
Golden Stars 3:00
You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover 2007 Music Avenue 10:38
I'm a Man 2007 Geffen / Hip-O / Hip-O Select 3:00
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Delta 2:45
Rock N' Roll Legends 2008 Chess 3:01
Essential Blues Anthology 2008
Various Artists
Not Now Music 3:00
I'm Bad! 2008 Universal 2:59
Turn Up the House Lights: Live in France 1989 2008 Last Call 7:33
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Golden Decade / Membran 2:59
Gold 2008 Geffen 3:01
The Rock 'N' Roll Roadshow 2008
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:59
The Best of Chess Records 2008
Various Artists
Geffen / Chess / Universal-Island Records
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:59
Live 1984 2009 Cleopatra
The Roots of Led Zeppelin 2009
Various Artists
Proper Box 2:42
Definitive Blues Anthology 2009
Various Artists
Not Now Music 3:00
The Roots of John Lennon 2009
Various Artists
Red Snapper Records / Snapper 2:55
Rock 'N' Roll Greats [Delta] 2009
Various Artists
Delta Leisure 2:59
Simply Rock 'n' Roll Love Songs 2009
Various Artists
Simply
The Roots of Led Zeppelin: How Many More Years 2009
Various Artists
Proper Records 2:42
Have Guitar Will Tour 2010 Music Avenue / Blues Boulevard 2:59
Big Box of Blues [Floating World] 2010
Various Artists
Floating World 3:02
Greatest Ever! Rock 'N' Roll Legends: The Definitive Collection 2010
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:56
A Complete Introduction to Chess 2010
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 3:00
I'm a Man: The Singles As and Bs 1955-1959 2011 Jasmine / Jasmine Records 3:02
Absolutely Rock 'n' Roll 2011
Various Artists
Delta Leisure Group / Music Digital 2:59
No Image 2011
Various Artists
Universal 2:58
Absolutely the Best Live 2011 Airline Records 4:41
The Roots of Mod 2011
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 2:46
Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues - The Definitive Collection, Pt. 2: 1954-1967 2012
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:02
Simply Rock 'n' Roll [2012] 2012
Various Artists
Simply
Rock & Roll Beginnings 2012
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 2:47
Diddley Daddy: The Collection 2012 Music Club Deluxe
100 Blues Classics & Greatest Blues Hits 2013
Various Artists
4:Squared 3:05
Rock 'n' Roll Master Blaster 2013 Metro Select
No Image 2013 Digilouge 2:46
Legends of Rock 'n' Roll [Eagle] 2013
Various Artists
Eagle / Eagle Rock 3:36
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:59
No Image
Various Artists
ZYX Music 3:00
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:53
No Image
Various Artists
Delta 3:00
No Image
Various Artists
Broken Audio 2:59
America's Music Legacy: Rock 'N Roll
Various Artists
Quantum Leap
Best of the Blues, Vol. 1 [Excalibur]
Various Artists
Excalibur 2:59
Best of the Blues, Vol. 2 [Excalibur]
Various Artists
Excalibur 10:01
Black Stars of Rock 'n' Roll
Various Artists
Documents
Blues Café
Various Artists
ZYX / ZYX Music 3:01
Blues Gold [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 2:46
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Blues [ZYX 4CD]
Various Artists
ZYX / ZYX Music 3:01
Bo Diddley [Sundazed] Sundazed
Essential Blues [The Gift of Music]
Various Artists
The Gift of Music 2:51
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:53
Great Traditional Blues
Various Artists
AAO Music
Horst Fascher Präsentiert: 50 Jahre Beatles In Hamburg
Various Artists
3:00
How Britain Got the Blues, Vol. 3: How London Got the Blues
Various Artists
History of RnB Records / Rhythm & Blues / Rhythm and Blues 3:01
No Image Must Have Records 2:59
No Image Sound and Vision 2:48
I'm a Man [Charly] Charly Records
Legends of Rock 'N' Roll [Live In Rome, Italy/1989]
Various Artists
Eagle Records / Eagle Rock 3:36
Magic City
Original Television Soundtrack
Silva America / Silva Screen 3:01
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:54
On the Charts: 1948 to 1972 - Blues, Soul, R&B and Rock 'n Roll
Various Artists
AMC
Original Hits From the 50s & 60s
Various Artists
10Ten Media / Zebralution 2:52
No Image
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 10:25
No Image
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 10:25
No Image
Various Artists
V & H Holdings 2:44
Six Classic Albums Real Gone Jazz / Real Gone Music
No Image Excalibur 2:48
The  All Electric Blues Album
Various Artists
Ideal Music Group 3:02
The History of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 3 [Excalibur]
Various Artists
Excalibur 10:25
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