Say Man

"Say Man" is a song by American musician Bo Diddley. Written under his real name of Ellas McDaniel, it was recorded by Bo Diddley in 1958 and released as a single in 1959 on Checker 931.

"Say Man"
Say Man single cover.jpeg
Single by Bo Diddley
B-side"The Clock Strikes Twelve"
RecordedChicago, January 29, 1958
GenreRhythm and blues
LabelChecker 931
Songwriter(s)Ellas McDaniel
Bo Diddley singles chronology
"Crackin Up"
"Say Man"
"Say Man, Back Again"

The recording became his biggest US pop hit, reaching number 20 on the Hot 100,[1] and number three on the R&B chart.[2] It arose from a jam session between Diddley and his maracas player Jerome Green, and featured Diddley and Green trading insults in the style of the word game known as The Dozens.[3]

Bo Diddley said of the song: "A lot of the things I did in the Chess studios, we were just goofin' around... They played it back, and it shocked all of us! Of course, they cut out all the dirty parts."[4] Music critic Maury Dean, while rejecting the idea that the track is "the first rap song", says that it is "the first major soul tune to feature a total spoken patter of pal put-downs to a rockin' beat.... Bo's lightning right hand chops chords like sugar cane. The incessant beat throbs into the hot American evening nocturne of streetwise savvy. Rap - with a side of ghetto-blast humor."[5]

The recording also appeared on the album Go Bo Diddley.[3]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 193. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 114. ISBN 0-89820-115-2. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Overview: Go Bo Diddley by Bo Diddley". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 17, 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Richie Unterberger, "Say Man", Rolling Stone, June 8, 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2017
  5. ^ Maury Dean, Rock and Roll: Gold Rush, Algora Publishing, 2003, p.59