Bo Diddley died today.
There are a lot of articles on his contributions on the web today, and from the interviews, it seems that there is general agreement that he was instrumental in creating rock and roll. He unfortunately never received much compensation for his contributions.
From a cultural standpoint, most of us are pretty aware of the racial politics that took place during the 1960's over music. Elvis was talented, no doubt, but his color (or lack thereof) definitely helped him with the music producers in his quest to become "the King." In the Times article above, check out the multimedia section where Diddley discusses race.
Since the discussion of traditional Asian vs. modern Asian often comes up, the 44's might find this section of an article about his famous beat interesting.
Performers as diverse as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen have been inspired by the syncopated Bo Diddley beat — bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp — which has been traced to myriad sources, including the drumbeats of the Yoruba and Kongo cultures. At the Beatles' first American news conference in 1964, a reporter asked John Lennon, "What are you most looking forward to seeing here in America, John?" He replied, "Bo Diddley."
Definitely check out the multimedia section of the first article above. It's interesting and historical stuff.