George Thorogood

George Thorogood (born February 24, 1950)

George Thorogood (born February 24, 1950) is a blues rock vocalist/guitarist from Wilmington, Delaware known for his hit song “Bad to the Bone” as well as for covers of blues standards such as Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over” and John Lee Hooker‘s “House Rent Boogie/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”. Another favorite is a cover of Bo Diddley‘s “Who Do You Love?” George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers have released 16 studio albums, including two that were certified Platinum and six that have been certified Gold. The band has sold 15 million albums worldwide. The band is credited with the early success of Rounder Records.

Early life and family

Thorogood was born on February 24, 1950 and was raised in Naamans Manor, a neighborhood in suburban Wilmington, Delaware, where his father worked for DuPont. He graduated from Brandywine High School in 1968. The singer was born in the middle of five children; including two older brothers, John and Pete, and two younger sisters, identical twins, Liza and Anne. Thorogood played semi-professional baseball, but turned toward music after seeing John Hammond Jr.  perform in 1970.

Music career

Thorogood’s demo, Better Than the Rest, was recorded in 1974 and released in 1979. In 1976 he recorded his debut album: George Thorogood & The Destroyers with his band, The Destroyers (sometimes known as The Delaware Destroyers or simply GT and D) and issued the album in 1977. Thorogood released his next album titled Move It On Over in 1978 with The Destroyers, which included the Hank Williams remake “Move It On Over”. “Please Set a Date” and their remake of the Bo Diddley “Who Do You Love?” both followed in 1979. In the late 1970s, Thorogood played on a baseball team in Delaware in the Roberto Clemente League which was created in 1976. He was the second baseman and was chosen rookie of the year in the league. Soon after this achievement, The Destroyers forced him to quit playing the sport. In the 1970s, he and his band were based in Boston.

George and the Delaware Destroyers were friends with Jimmy Thackery and the Nighthawks. While touring in the 1970s, the Destroyers and the Nighthawks happened to be playing shows in Georgetown (DC) at venues across the street from each other. The Destroyers were engaged at The Cellar Door and the Nighthawks at Desperados. At midnight, by prior arrangement, while both bands played Elmore James‘ “Madison Blues” in the key of E, Thorogood and Thackery left their clubs, met in the middle of M Street, exchanged guitar cables and went on to play with the opposite band.

Thorogood gained his first mainstream exposure as a support act for The Rolling Stones during their 1981 U.S. tour. He also was the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live (Season 8, Episode 2) on the October 2, 1982 broadcast. During this time, George and the Destroyers also became known for their rigorous schedule, including the “50/50″ tour of 1980, on which the band toured 50 US states in the space of 50 days. After two shows in Boulder, Colorado, Thorogood and his band flew to Hawaii for one show and then performed a show in Alaska on the following night. The next day the band flew to Washington State, met their roadies who had their Checker car and a truck, and continued a one show per state tour for all fifty states in exactly fifty nights. In addition, they played Washington, DC on the same day that they performed a show in Maryland.

This increased visibility occurred as Thorogood’s contract with Rounder Records expired. He signed with EMI America Records and in 1982 released his best-known song, “Bad to the Bone”, and an album of the same name. The song has been used frequently in television and film, including the sci-fi thriller Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the comedies Problem Child, and Problem Child 2, Stephen King’s Christine, and many episodes of the television sitcom Married with Children. This track also was used during the intro to the movie Major Payne. The same song is also featured in the game Rock ‘n Roll Racing. It is also played during football pregame festivities at Mississippi State University. It is also played at USHRA Monster Jam events to introduce Grave Digger (regardless of driver). “Bad to the Bone” was used for the 1984 Buick Grand National advertisements. Thorogood’s version of “Who Do You Love?” is played in all Samuel Adams beer commercials.

2011 sees the release of Thorogood’s 15th studio album with the Destroyers, 2120 South Michigan Avenue. The album will be released on July 12, and “features Thorogood’s raw, rocking turn on classics by a who’s-who of the blues, including Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry,Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy, Sonny Boy Williamson II , Little Walter and other Chess Records greats, as well as new original songs written by Thorogood, the album’s producer, Tom Hambridge, and Richard Fleming”.

Band members

The Destroyers

  • George Thorogood – lead vocals and lead guitar
  • Jeff Simon – drums, percussion (1974–present)
  • Billy Blough – bass guitar (1977–present)
  • Jim Suhler – rhythm guitar (1999–present)
  • Buddy Leach – saxophone, piano (2003–present)

Former members

  • Ron “Roadblock” Smith – rhythm guitar (1974–1980)
  • Hank “Hurricane” Carter – saxophone (1980–2003)
  • Steve Chrismar – rhythm guitar (1985–1993)

Studio albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US US Blues AUS

NZ

1974 Better Than the Rest(Rereleased by MCA in 1979)

  • Released:
  • Label: MCA
  • Format: CS
78 43
1977 George Thorogood and the Destroyers

  • Released:
  • Label: Rounder
  • Format:
14 US: Gold
1978 Move It on Over

  • Released:
  • Label: Rounder
  • Format: CS, CD, LP
33 10 US: Gold
1980 More George Thorogood and the Destroyers

  • Released:
  • Label:
  • Format:
63 36
1982 Bad to the Bone

  • Released:
  • Label: EMI Music Distribution
  • Format:
43 31 US: Gold
1985 Maverick

  • Released:
  • Label: Beat Goes On
  • Format:
32 14 US: Gold
1986 Nadine (CD Rerelease of Better Than the Rest)

  • Released:
  • Label: Universal Special Products
  • Format: CS, CD
1988 Born to Be Bad

  • Released:
  • Label: EMI
  • Format:
32 30 2 US: Gold
1991 Boogie People

  • Released:
  • Label: EMI
  • Format:
77 45 13
1993 Haircut

  • Released:
  • Label: Beat Goes On
  • Format:
41 37
1997 Rockin’ My Life Away

  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol
  • Format:
5
1999 Half a Boy and Half a Man

  • Released:
  • Label: CMC International
  • Format:
2003 Ride ‘Til I Die

  • Released:
  • Label: Eagle Records
  • Format:
2
2006 The Hard Stuff

  • Released:
  • Label: Eagle
  • Format:
2
2009 The Dirty Dozen

  • Released: July 28, 2009
  • Label: Capitol
  • Format: CD
1
2011 2120 South Michigan Ave.

  • Released: June 14, 2011
  • Label: EMI Catalogue
  • Format: CD
“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.

Live albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US US Blues NZ

1986 Live

  • Released: 1986
  • Label: EMI
  • Format: CD, CS
60 5 US: Platinum
1995 Live: Let’s Work Together

  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Capitol
  • Format: CD, CS
1999 Live in ’99

  • Released: November 23, 1999
  • Label: CMC International
  • Format: CD, CS
2004 30th Anniversary Tour: Live

  • Released: October 19, 2004
  • Label: Eagle
  • Format: CD
2010 Live in Boston 1982

  • Released: July 27, 2010
  • Label: Rounder
  • Format: CD
10
“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.

Compilation albums

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
US US Blues NZ

1992 The Baddest of George Thorogood and the Destroyers

  • Released: July 28, 1992
  • Label: EMI
  • Format: CD, CS
100 US: Platinum
2000 Anthology

  • Released: August 29, 2000
  • Label: Capitol
  • Format: CD, DI
2003 Who Do You Love?

  • Released: March 4, 2003
  • Label: Rounder
  • Format: CD
2004 Greatest Hits: 30 Years of Rock

  • Released: May 18, 2004
  • Label: Capitol/EMI
  • Format: CD DI
55 1 37 US: Gold
2005 The Best Of George Thorogood and the Destroyers

  • Released: June 6, 2006
  • Label: Special Product/Direct Source
  • Format: CD, CS
7
2007 Taking Care of Business a

  • Released: March 19, 2007
  • Label: Recall Records
  • Format: CD
“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.
  • ^a double disc of Ride ‘Til I Die (w/ 2 bonus tracks) and 30th Anniversary Tour

Singles

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US Main. Rock NZ

1982 “Bad to the Bone” 27 Bad to the Bone
1985 “Gear Jammer” 26 Maverick
“I Drink Alone” 13
“Willie and the Hand Jive” 25
1986 “Reelin’ and Rockin’” 11
1988 “Born to Be Bad” 3 Born to Be Bad
“Treat Her Right” 39
“You Talk Too Much” 4 42
1991 “Hello Little Girl” 15 Boogie People
“If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave)” 5
1992 “I’m a Steady Rollin’ Man” 18 The Baddest of George Thorogood and the Destroyers
1993 “Get a Haircut” 2 15 Haircut
“Gone Dead Train” 24
“Howlin’ for My Baby” 12
1999 “I Don’t Trust Nobody” 24 Half a Boy and Half a Man
“—” denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.

 

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