Bo Diddley at 368 Livingston, Brooklyn, 1959

Dec 27, 2021

A memory from this day five years ago, December 27, 2016:

Visiting the ghosts of rock and roll history: a few blocks away from where I’m staying is 368 Livingston in Brooklyn, where Bo Diddley shot the cover photo for his Have Guitar Will Travel album in 1959, while performing at an Alan Freed rock ’n’ roll spectacular just across the street at the (now demolished) Brooklyn Fox Theater. There were a handful of pictures taken of Bo on the motor scooter, as near as I can tell, all on the same day, all within a couple blocks of the album cover location and the Fox Theater, where Bo and his band probably played the same day. I found three out of the four photo locations this morning, and the fourth photo (with the wall and the sign saying “post no bills”) I’m pretty sure was taken in the alley behind the long-gone Brooklyn Fox. Squint your eyes hard enough—and I mean REALLY hard, as Brooklyn is rapidly vanishing into an unrecognizable mess of condos and yuppie restaurants—and you just might see Bo riding that amazing Allstate (made by Cushman for Sears) Jetsweep model red and white and chrome motor scooter.

To see the cool story of how some guy figured out this photo was taken in Brooklyn: