“I’m a Man” is a rock and roll song written and recorded by Bo Diddley in 1955. A moderately slow blues with a stop-time figure, it was inspired by an earlier blues song and became a number one U.S. R&B chart hit. “I’m a Man” has been recorded by a variety of artists, including The Yardbirds who had a number seventeen pop hit in the U.S. in 1965.
“I’m a Man” was released as the B-side of “Bo Diddley“, his first single in April 1955. The single became a two-sided hit and reached number 1 in the Billboard R&B chart. “I’m a Man” was inspired by Muddy Waters‘ 1954 song “Hoochie Coochie Man“, written by Willie Dixon. After Diddley’s release, Waters recorded an “answer song” to “I’m a Man” in May 1955, titled “Mannish Boy“, a play on words on Bo Diddley’s younger age as it related to the primary theme of the song.
- Bo Diddley recounts that the song took a long time to record because of confusion regarding the timing of the “M…A…N” part.
- Bo Diddley’s original “I’m a Man” is ranked number 369 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
- In 1987 he was inducted the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
- In 1998 he recieved Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
- In 2012, the song along with the self-named A-side song “Bo Diddley” was added to the Library of Congress‘s National Recording Registry list of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” American sound recordings.