Bad to the Bone
“There are two kinds of music: the blues and that crap they play on MTV.” George Thorogood
Blues rock vocalist/guitarist hailed from Wilmington, Delaware George Thorogood is most famous for his hit song, “Bad to the Bone” (1982), and for covering blues standards like Hank Williams' 1947 hit, “Move It On Over,” and John Lee Hooker's “House Rent Boogie/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” Other popular covers are Bo Diddley's “Who Do You Love?,” T.J. Arnal's “Cocaine Blues” and Elmore James' “ Madison Blues,” to name a few. Thorogood and the Destroyers have recorded over a dozen of studio albums since 1974. “The Dirty Dozen” became a chart topper on the Billboard Top Blues Albums in 2009. They also have released five live albums and six compilations. The band has sold about 15 million albums worldwide.
Thorogood is good friends with fellow rocker Elvin Bishop. He loves smoking cigars and attending professional wrestling matches. His favorite actor is Lee Martin. As a child, he was a fan of the TV series “Maverick.” A former semi pro baseball player, he mentions the New York Mets his favorite team in the major baseball league.
Childhood and Family:
George Lawrence Thorogood was born on December 31, 1952, in Wilmington, Delaware. He grew up in a neighborhood in suburban Wilmington called Naamans Manor. He graduated from Brandywine High School in Wilmington in 1968. He then briefly attended the University of Delaware, where he met his future bandmates. George came from a big family with five children. He has two older brothers, John and Pete, and two younger sisters, identical twins, Liza and Anne. Anne, however, died abruptly on February 21, 2008.
On July 16, 1985, George was married to Marla Raderman. They have one child together. In the rock and roll scene, he is known with the nickname Lonesome George.
The Dirty Dozen
George Thorogood took an interest in music, notably Chicago blues, after seeing John P. Hammond perform in 1970. Three years later, he formed the Destroyers in Delaware and later moved them to Boston in the late 1970. The original line up consisted of Thorogood on lead vocals and guitar, Jeff Simon on drums and Michael Lenn on bass. School friend Ron “Roadblock” Smith played rhythm guitar on and off for several years to complete the quartet.
In 1974, George Thorogood and The Destroyers recorded a demo titled “Better Than the Rest.” It was later released by MCA Records in September 1979 and reached No. 78 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. After signing with Rounder Records, Thorogood and his band released the self titled debut album “George Thorogood and the Destroyers” in 1977. In addition to Thorogood's original songs like “Homesick Boy,” “I'll Change My Style” and “Delaware Slide,” the album also included the covers of Elmore James' “ Madison Blues” and “Can't Stop Lovin',” Traditional's “John Hardy,” Earl Hooker's “You Got to Lose,” Robert Johnson's “Kind Hearted Woman” and John Lee Hooker's “House Rent Boogie"/"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” which has become an all time fan favorite. It was also in 1977 that bass guitarist Billy Blough joined the Destroyers as a replacement to Michael Lenn.
Thorogood's sophomore effort, “Move It On Over,” followed in November 1978. With no original material, the album enjoyed success on the Billboard Pop Albums chart with its peak of 33 thanks largely to the Hank Williams remake “Move It on Over” and the Bo Diddley cover, “Who Do You Love?,”both of which earned major FM radio airplay upon their releases. Thorogood and his band also covered Willie Dixon's” That Same Thing,” Elmore James' “The Sky Is Crying” and T.J. Arnal's “Cocaine Blues,” among other songs, for the album.
In the late 1970s, Thorogood decided to put his music career on the back burner to play semi professional baseball. He served as the second baseman for a team in Delaware and was named rookie of the year in the Roberto Clemente League, which was founded in 1976. Soon thereafter, The Destroyers forced him to give up the sport and focused on music.
In 1980, Thorogood added saxophonist Hank “Hurricane” Carter to his band. A new studio album, “More George Thorogood and The Destroyers,” was launched in October 1980. It reached No. 68 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The album marked his last record with Rounder before his contract expired.
Thorogood's first mainstream exposure came when he served as a support act for The Rolling Stones during their 1981 U.S. tour. He also appeared as the musical guest on an episode of “Saturday Night Live,” which aired on October 2, 1982. During this period, George and the Destroyers also gained notice for their hectic touring schedule, including the “50/50” tour of 1980, on which the band toured 50 US states in the space of 50 day.
In September 1982, George Thorogood and The Destroyers released “Bad to the Bone,” Thorogood's first album with EMI America Records. The album featured The Rolling Stones side man Ian Stewart on keyboards and piano. The album produced the Thorogood self written popular song, “Bad to the Bone,” which was released as a single on September 17, 1982. It has been featured in many films such as “Talk Radio” (1988), “Problem Child” (1990) and its sequel, “Problem Child 2” (1991), “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991), “Flesh and Bone” (1993), “The Parent Trap” (1998),” 3000 Miles to Graceland” (2001), “Joe Dirt” (2001), “Firehouse Dog” (2007), “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” (2008), “Beautiful Kate” (2009), “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” (2010) and “Megamind” (2010) as well as in television series like “Miami Face,” “Early Edition,” “Married with Children,” “The Lone Gunmen,” “Las Vegas” and “Mongrels.” The track is also used in the game “Rock 'n Roll Racing” and played during football pregame festivities at Mississippi State University. It also has been used in several commercials. Thorogood also penned two more tracks for the album called “Back to Wentzville” and “Miss Luann.”
The fifth studio album “Maverick” was released in May 1985, with Thorogood, Carter, Blough and Simon on the line up. It was produced by Terry Manning. Thorogood wrote the songs “Gear Jammer,” “I Drink Alone,” “Long Gone” and “Woman with the Blues” for the album. The first live album, “Live,” followed in 1986. The same year, Thorogood also had a new release called “Nadine,” which was actually a repackaged version of the 1979 vinyl album “Better Than the Rest” that was re-released on compact disc.
In February 1988, Thorogood and The Destroyers released “Born to Be Bad” on EMI label. Produced by Manning, the album reached No. 32 on the Billboard 200. They covered Elmore James' “Shake Your Money Maker” and Howlin' Wolf's “Smokestack Lightning” for the album, to name a few. The album also contained Thorogood's original material such as “You Talk Too Much,” “Born to Be Bad” and “I Really Like Girls.” The album featured new rhythm guitarist Steve Chrisma, who joined the Destroyers in 1985.
Thorogood and his bandmates resurfaced with “Boogie People” in January 1991. The album peaked at No. 77 on the Billboard 200. It became Steve Chrisma's last album with the band before he quit in 1993. He was later replaced by Jim Suhler in 1999.
After their first compilation album, “The Baddest of George Thorogood and the Destroyers” (1992), Thorogood released the studio album “Haircut” on July 27, 1993 under Capitol Records. It peaked at No. 120 on the Billboard 200. He wrote one track, “Baby Don't Go,” for the album. Thorogood's next album for Capitol, “Rockin' My Life Away,” followed on March 25, 1997. It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Top Blues Album chart.
On March 25, 2003, Thorogood released the bues rock album “Ride 'Til I Die” on Eagle Records. It was his new studio album since 1999's “Half a Boy and Half a Man.” He co-wrote the track “Sweet Little Lady” with guitarist Jim Suhler for the first. It was also in 2003 that saxophonist Hank Carter left the Destroyers and was replaced by Buddy Leach later that same year. Three years later, Thorogood and The Destroyers launched “The Hard Stuff” on Eagle. The album peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard charts.
Thorogood released “The Dirty Dozen” on July 28, 2009 on Capitol. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums and stayed on the chart for 11 weeks. The album contained 12 tracks, 6 of which were new songs.
“Did I think I would last 30 years? No, I didn't think it would have those kind of legs.” George Thorogood