Peggy Jones, guitarist, died at 75

  Dead Famous

Peggy Jones, born on July 19, 1940 and died September 16, 2015, known on stage as Lady Bo in recognition of her relationship with Bo Diddley, was an American musician.

A pioneer of rock and roll, Peggy played rhythm guitar in Bo Diddley’s band in the late 1950s and early 1960s, becoming one of the first (perhaps the first) female rock guitarists in a highly visible rock band, and was sometimes called the “Queen Mother of Guitar”.

Born in Harlem, New York City, Peggy grew up in the Sugar Hill section, and attended the High School of Performing Arts where she studied tap and ballet dance and trained in opera.

She bought her first guitar at the age of 15. She was briefly in a local doo-wop group, the Bop Chords, which disbanded in 1957.

A chance meeting with Bo Diddley, who was impressed to see a girl with a guitar case, led to an invitation to join Diddley’s band as a guitarist and singer.

She recorded with him from 1957 to 1961 or 1963, appearing on singles including “Hey! Bo Diddley”, “Road Runner”, “Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger”, and the instrumental “Aztec” which she wrote and played all the guitar parts on.

Throughout her time with Diddley, Peggy maintained the separate career she had begun independently as a songwriter, session musician, and bandleader.

She led her own band, the Jewels (also known as the Fabulous Jewels, Lady Bo and the Family Jewels, and various other names), which became a top R&B band on the New York – Boston east coast club scene the 1960s and 1970s.

She eventually left Diddley’s band to concentrate on the Jewels and other activities.

She was replaced with another female guitarist, Norma-Jean Wofford (“The Duchess”).

Peggy played guitar on Les Cooper’s 1962 instrumental “Wiggle Wobble” and percussion on the 1967 hit “San Franciscan Nights” by Eric Burdon and The Animals and other recordings, and later backed James Brown and Sam & Dave.

She remained musically active well into the 21st century. Her death was announced by her husband, Wally Malone, on September 16, 2015.

Peggy died at age 75 on September 16, 2015.