Peggy Jones, who was known as Lady Bo as rhythm guitarist in Bo Diddley’s band in the 50’s, has died at the age of 75.
The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation broke the news nationally after Jones’ husband, Wally Malone, posted of his wife’s passing on his Facebook page:
Today is one of the saddest days of my life. My wife and partner of 47 Years has been called up to that great rock & roll band in the heavens to be reunited with Bo Diddley, Jerome Green and Clifton James. The last hour and a quarter I spent by her side and the last thing I said to her was the quote above regarding Diddley and band. The other thing I added at the end of it is that band doesn’t have a bass player and for them to please hold that seat until it is my time join them. The incredible part of this is immediately after saying this to her there was a quick sound that came from her and right then her heart stopped beating. Many of you know about the Bo Diddley connection but in case not my wife’s professional stage name is Lady Bo.
Jones was born in Harlem and grew up on the Sugar Hill section, impressing locals with her tap dancing skills as early as the age of three. Before turning ten, she was studying opera and had begun to master her first instrument, the ukulele.
As a teen, Jones would travel downtown to attend the High School For the Performing Arts, specializing in tap, ballet, drama, music theory and a number of instruments. She bought her first guitar at age 15 and, two years later, she joined the local group the Bop-Chords as their first tenor. It was while she was performing with the group that she met Bo Diddley who invited her to join his band.
Jones became the first female guitarist to be hired and featured by a major rock artist and she stayed with Diddley until 1961, becoming known as Lady Bo. During her time with Bo, she recorded such classics as Hey! Bo Diddley, Road Runner and the instrumental Aztec, which she wrote and played all guitar parts.
While still with Diddley’s band, she formed her own group, The Jewels, which would later be known as Lady Bo and the Family Jewel. In 1966, they recorded what is now the Northern Soul classic We Got Togetherness for MGM Records.
Lady Bo also worked as a session performer with her biggest hits being Les Cooper’s Wiggle Wibble, on which she played guitar, and Eric Burdon and the Animals’ San Francisco Nights, on which she was a percussionist.
Lady Bo and the Family Jewel stayed together into the nineties, touring regularly with Bo Diddley. Later, she would perform as Lady Bo and the DC Horns.
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