Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (2)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Eden, Maryland, USA
Died in Boulder Creek, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NamePeggy Tiese Jones
Nicknames Rock & Roll's First Lady of Guitar
Lady Bo
The Queen Mother of Guitar

Mini Bio (1)

The story of Lady Bo is very much the story of a woman in a man's world. The story of a musical pioneer. The story of rock & roll's First Lady of Guitar.   It is a common sight nowadays to see female musicians performing electric blues, jazz, rock & roll and R&B. So common, in fact, that one can quite easily forget that it's really not that long ago that those genres of music were once pretty much the sole preserve of the male of the species. One thinks of today's top female stars such as Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Wynonna Judd, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and Vonda Shepard. The story of the woman who paved the way for all of these performers is the story of Lady Bo. Lady Bo was born Peggy Jones on Friday July 19th 1940 and raised in the Sugar Hill district of Uptown Manhattan in New York City, in a neighborhood that could boast of producing such other musical luminaries as Duke Ellington, Carmen McRae, Leslie Uggams, Gregory Hinds, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Ronettes, and Vanilla Fudge. The young Peggy was very fortunate to be raised in a loving household where artistic development was very much encouraged. Born to musical parents (her mother was a singer and dancer and her father played the saxophone), Peggy and her mom would often practise singing and dancing together at home in front of the huge mirror that her father had installed on a wall in the family's living room. By the tender age of 4, she had developed a natural instinct for rhythm and movement and a keen sense of musical pitch and timing, and her parents realised that they had been blessed with that most precious of gifts, a musical child prodigy. By the age of 6, she had learnt to tap dance, and was studying ballet and modern dance, and had already appeared onstage at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, on TV's "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour" and on Ralph Cooper's "Spotlight On Harlem" radio show. She was attending Public School 186, (incidentally, the same school that screen actress Bette Davis had attended a few years before). By the age of 9 she had begun formal vocal training on her four octave range, and had notched up even more appearances at Carnegie Hall plus taken part in several performances of school operettas. At the age of 12 she had begun playing her first musical instrument, the ukulele, very popular with many female performers at that time, and which she used to accompany herself whilst practicing singing her scales. She went on to attend the New York High School of Performing Arts on a scholarship as a dance major, and there studied drama, music theory, and several musical instruments. In 1955, at the age of 15, she bought her very first guitar, and unwittingly began a chain of events that was to eventually change the role of women in music forever. Around this time she was also working part-time as a model, and began to write and arrange songs whilst still studying at school. After winning one of the famed Amateur Nights as a singer at the legendary New York Apollo Theater, she signed a recording contract with a major label and formed The Fabulous Jewels Band. Peggy had intended to go on to Julliard College to study classical music theory, when a chance meeting with the legendary rhythm & blues performer Bo Diddley outside the Apollo Theater during the summer of 1956 led to a change of direction for her that was to have repercussions for female musicians far and wide. She became the first female lead guitarist in history to be hired by a major recording act. Impressed by her prodigious talent for music, Bo Diddley began to work closely with Peggy to develop his ideas for new material and new sounds. She taught herself to play the guitar in his unique tunings and soon began to play in unison with the master of the world-famous "Bo Diddley Beat". Hit after hit soon began to follow; "Hey, Bo Diddley", "Mona", "Say Man", "Crackin' Up", "The Story of Bo Diddley", "Say Man, Back Again", "Road Runner", "Bo Diddley's A Gunslinger", "Aztec" and many, many more classic songs, and all featuring Peggy on electric guitar and vocals and occasional piano. Between the years 1956 and 1962, and at the same time as holding down an integral position in Bo Diddley's touring and recording band, Peggy also took time out to sing with The Buddy Johnson Orchestra (filling in for Ella Johnson at The Savoy Ballroom) and also recorded on a number of local hit singles, including The Continentals' "Picture Of Love" (1956), The Bopchords' "Baby"/"So Why" (1957), Greg & Peg's "Honey Bunny Baby" (1957), Bob & Peggy's "Everybody's Talking" (1959), The Jewels' "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" (1961) and Les Cooper & The Soul Rockers' nationwide Pop and R&B hit "Wiggle Wobble"/"Dig Yourself" (1962). Cast in the same mold as those other 2 great female musical pioneers and torch-bearers, Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Peggy and her electric guitar and stunning voice continued to forge her own path through the male-dominated worlds of rhythm & blues, soul, blues, pop, jazz and rock & roll, recording for the Checker/Chess, MGM, Decca, Columbia, Peacock, Savoy, Everlast, Holiday, Ro-Nan, and Whirlin' Disc record labels. Nowadays, female musicians are accepted by the music industry and the audience without question, but back in the late 50s/early 60s an electric guitar-playing, blues-shouting woman was still something of a novelty that record companies, promoters and managers frankly didn't quite know how to deal with! Another obstacle that Lady Bo continues to work hard to overcome is the lack of formal recognition given to studio session musicians by such organisations as The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and the record companies. Thanks in part due to the tireless work of stars like Bo Diddley and Etta James, Lady Bo and other deserving session players such as Johnnie Johnson (Chuck Berry), King Curtis (Atlantic Records), James Jamerson (Motown Records) and Carol Kaye (Frank Sinatra, Beach Boys etc) are only now gradually beginning to receive some of the recognition that they are surely due. Lady Bo alone appears on a total of around 50 credited and uncredited albums and CDs. As a performer, Lady Bo can probably best be described as Armed & Extremely Dangerous! Her lean, mean, slap-in-the-face guitar technique combining perfectly with her classy, sassy, smooth-as-silk vocal style. She describes her musical magic thus: "I was trained to go somewhere with a lyric, choose songs that are masterworks in content and words, and that musically say something strong because I know how to sing, to make a song mine, to play and to deliver it. I never sing a song the same way twice or believe that everyone feels exactly the same every day, so why should a song be the same? LIVE is real. Who I am is truth, and I am the artistry of what I created! I grew up with what my mother always told me from being a little girl: You be you always. You can't be nobody else..... My father would say to me: Don't let nobody stop you...you be your own person..... Years ago, the great Billie Holiday gave similar advice to Ruth Brown after she'd placed a flower in her hair and began singing Billie Holiday songs at a gig. Holiday, who was in the audience, told her: What you gotta decide is who you are on stage, so people will call you by YOUR name, and not mine..." In 1962, Lady Bo took a break from touring and recording with Bo Diddley to concentrate more fully on her band The Jewels who by this time had become one of the top East Coast pop/soul ensembles. In the Summer of Love of 1967, she was invited to play percussion on Eric Burdon & The Animals' worldwide Top 10 hit "San Franciscan Nights", and in the late sixties she and her new bass player Wally Malone were back on the road again touring around Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas with The Boogie Kings/The American Soul Train Revue. Around 1970, she received a request from Bo Diddley's then-manager Marty Otelsberg to move to San Jose, California and put together a brand new backing band for Bo Diddley. Lady Bo's vocal influences: her mom, Billie Holiday (she attended the funeral of Lady Day in New York City in 1959), Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington, Etta James, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Minnie Riperton, Natalie Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Dionne Warwick and Kathleen Battle. Lady Bo's overall role model: Lena Horne. Lady Bo's male influences: Bo Diddley, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, John Tropea, Miles Davis and The JBs. Lady Bo is keen to stress that she was never influenced by any other female guitarists. Although she had heard of Memphis Minnie's guitar playing, she had never actually heard any of the Chicago-based singer and guitarist's recordings. Instead she gratefully accepted musical advice from the many male musicians that she encounted on the road; from the open-tuning guitar style developed with Bo Diddley, to the funk techniques learnt from time with the rhythm sections of the James Brown and Sam & Dave bands, to the soul and Latin rhythms taught to her by Mongo Santamaria. As a member of Bo Diddley's band, Lady Bo has shared the bill with some of the very top names in music: Santana, John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Chuck Berry, The Four Tops, The Coasters, The Platters, Ben E. King, BT Express, Chubby Checker, The Temptations, Sarah Vaughan and many others. With her own groups, she has headlined with Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Gene Krupa, Wilson Pickett, The Bar-Kays, Sammy Davis Jr., BJ Thomas, the Marvelettes, Gregg Allman, The Flamingos, Richard Berry, Joe Louis Walker and many others.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: David Blakey <daelyn1@eudoramail.com>

Spouse (1)

Wally Malone (20 October 1968 - 16 September 2015) ( her death)

Trivia (2)

Peggy first played and recorded with Bo Diddley in 1957. The name "Lady Bo" was added much later, following a surprise reunion with Bo Diddley at the Fillmore West auditorium in San Francisco, CA, USA in July 1970.
Peggy Malone (aka Lady Bo) was the legendary Bo Diddley's original girl guitar player.

Personal Quotes (1)

I am not an entertainer who creates copy, nor am I the daughter of someone famous. I am strong in my beliefs and convictions. I am one; I am special; I am somebody, and most important, I am me. I've walked down the path many light years ago to prove that: Yes, I can do this.....Watch me fly!

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

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