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George Thorogood and the Destroyers-Bad to the Bone 35th Anniversary

Coincidentally or intentionally, the thirty-fifth anniversary of George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ most popular song and album, August 1982’s Bad to the Bone,  falls on the release of Thorogood’s earthy roots-and-branches new album Party of One . As you will hear below, George Thorogood never ceases to surprise in casual conversation, with an unguarded frankness that is refreshing in today’s “spin doctor Special Olympics”. For instance, I have interviewed literally hundreds of the greatest rock musicians, but George Thorogood is the only one who told me that he was planning to be a professional comedian, not a musician. And at the time of that 1978 second release Move It on Over , George actually delayed his tour because he was playing professional baseball, albeit an abbreviated season. But when he finally took his three-piece outfit on the road that year, nobody tore it up live on stage better than this guy, and Thorogood proved it time and again, most successfully in the studio with 1982’s Bad to the Bone.

When we received word that Chuck Berry had passed away at age 90, immediately my thoughts went to George Thorogood who most certainly was saddened. But George doesn’t need me to explain why, because it was he and his Delaware Destroyers who reminded us that Summer of 1978  just how vital, seminal, and timeless Chuck Berry’s music was, as well as Elmore James, Bo Diddley, and even Hank Williams, all of whom were covered on Thorogood’s undiluted bare knuckle style on the second album, Move It on Over . “But the baddest was Bo,” George states emphatically.

Bo Diddley’s infectious signature sound was five choppy guitar chords played in answer to every vocal line, and four and a half of them were the same chord! And who needs to change the key for the chorus? What chorus? Once infected with the Bo Diddley beat, the fever spread rapidly and you just couldn’t shake it. Buddy Holly caught it in “Not Fade Away“, Johnny Otis got it too in “Willie and the Hand Jive”, The Who spread it while riding the “Magic Bus“, Bruce Springsteen got a bad case on “She’s the One“, and U2 proved not immune on the fabulous “Desire“.

Thorogood went from wannabe comedian to the baseball dugout, to the bleachers, and finally to the top of the album charts with Bad to the Bone thirty-five years ago. The song has appeared in countless Hollywood movies, television shows, and commercials by combining two of George Thorogood’s favorite things, humor and rock’n’roll. He comes full circle with his latest Party of One which features only his unvarnished voice, slide guitar, a stomp box, and fifteen of the best blues songs ever written. –Redbeard