Captain Beefheart – Diddy Wah Diddy

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The record, on Herb Alpert’s A&M label was produced by David Gates (Bread). The history of the band and lead, Don Glen Vliet, is replete with tales of sex, drugs, blues, free jazz, and rock ‘n roll.

There was Vliet’s friendship with Frank Zappa, and the band’s popularity among celebs and music notables such as David Byrne and Kurt Cobain. Tom Waits’ shift in artistic direction, starting with 1983’s Swordfishtrombones, was, Waits claims, a result of his wife Kathleen Brennan introducing him to Van Vliet’s music. “Once you’ve heard Beefheart”, said Waits, “it’s hard to wash him out of your clothes. It stains, like coffee or blood.” [Tom Waits had such a way with words].

There was a lot of rancor between Vliet and the band members, caused to a large degree by Vliet’s abusive nature, according to stories. “A psychedelic shaman who frequently bullied his musicians and sometimes alarmed his fans…” Check Wikipedia for more.


If you have a good stereo system at home or in your car, this song will rattle the doors!
Captain Beefheart – Diddy Wah Diddy [1966] (2:26)

An early rendition of the song was performed by Arthur “Blind” Blake back in 1929. Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records from 1926 to 1932.

Arthur “Blind” Blake – Diddy Wah Diddy (2:56)

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band are featured here on American Bandstand, in an odd phone-in interview, conducted by a 17 year old high school girl. One wonders why the band wasn’t booked to appear in person, and why Dick Clark chose not to conduct that interview.


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Jason Remington

Author: Jason Remington

Creator, Admin, & Editor of PugetSound.Media, a former broadcaster at KVAC/Forks, KDFL/Sumner, KTTX/KWHI/Brenham, TX., KONP/Port Angeles, KBAM/Longview, KAMT/Tacoma, KRPM FM/Tacoma, KJUN/Puyallup, KASY/Auburn, KTAC AM/Tacoma, KBRD FM/Tacoma, KMTT FM/Tacoma, and KOOL FM/Phoenix. Retired from AT&T.

4 thoughts on “Captain Beefheart – Diddy Wah Diddy

  1. Hey!–Let’s not overlook the original:

    –wikipedia:
    “Diddy Wah Diddy” is a song written by Willie Dixon and Ellas McDaniel, known as Bo Diddley, and recorded by the latter in 1956.

    The song shares **only its title** with Blind Blake’s song “Diddie Wah Diddie” recorded in 1929.

    Over the years, the Bo Diddley song has been covered by many bands and artists, including The Astronauts, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Leon Redbone, The Remains, The Twilights, Taj Mahal, The Sonics, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ty Segall Band, and The Blues Band among others.

    –here’s the man hisself:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AkIYM1iFQ8

    1. The lrics of the Bo Diddley tune are different from the Captain Beefheart lyrics. The Leon Redbone lyrics are most similar to the Blind Blake version:
      There’s a great big mystery
      It sure has worried me
      It’s diddy wah diddy
      It’s diddy wah diddy
      I wish somebody’d tell me what diddy wah diddy means

      I went out and I walked around
      Somebody yelled “Look who’s in town”
      It’s diddy wah diddy
      Yeah it’s diddy wah diddy
      I wish somebody’d tell me what diddy wah diddy means

      Had a little girl about four foot four
      Come on baby give me some more
      Of the diddy wah diddy
      Yes diddy wah diddy
      I wish somebody’d tell me what diddy wah diddy means

      I went to church with my hang on seat
      Daddy said usher just shook his feet
      Oh diddy wah diddy
      Yeah diddy wah diddy
      I wish somebody’d tell me what diddy wah diddy means

      Come on lady, I got to go
      Give me that thing that you sitting on
      My diddy wah diddy
      Yeah my diddy wah diddy
      I wish somebody’d tell me what diddy wah diddy means

      —So, there are two songs titled Diddy Wah Diddy and Redbone covered the 1929 tune, Beefheart covers the Bo Diddley tune.
      I haven’t listened to the other artists versions.

  2. Love it! The Youtube vid is weird too. It’s on the Bwanna Johnny San Diego air check here on the site. Song’s stuck in my head now.
    Much better than a lot of tunes. I’m sure it doesn’t test well!

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