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A blues-rock guitarist who draws his inspiration from Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, and Chuck Berry, George Thorogood never earned much respect from blues purists, but he became a popular favorite in the early '80s through repeated exposure on FM radio and the arena rock circuit. Thorogood's music was always loud, simple, and direct -- his riffs and licks were taken straight out of '50s Chicago blues and rock & roll -- but his formulaic approach helped him gain a rather large audience in the '80s, when his albums regularly went gold.
Originally, Thorogood was a minor-league baseball player but decided to become a musician in 1970 after seeing John Paul Hammond in concert. Three years later, he assembled the Destroyers in his home state of Delaware; in addition to Thorogood, the band featured bassist Michael Lenn, second guitarist Ron Smith, and drummer Jeff Simon. Shortly after the Destroyers were formed, he moved them to Boston, where they became regulars on the blues club circuit. In 1974, they cut a batch of demos that were later released in 1979 as the Better Than the Rest album.
Within a year of recording the demos, the Destroyers were discovered by John Forward, who helped them secure a contract with Rounder Records. Before they made their first album, Lenn was replaced by Billy Blough. Thorogood & the Destroyers' eponymous debut was released in early 1977. The group's second album, Move It on Over, was released in 1978. The title track, a cover of Hank Williams' classic, was pulled as a single and it received heavy FM airplay, helping the album enter the American Top 40 and go gold. Its success led to MCA's release of Better Than the Rest, which the band disdained. In 1980, Ron Smith left the band and the group added a saxophonist, Hank Carter, and released its third album, More George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
Following the release of More George Thorogood, the guitarist signed with EMI Records, releasing his major-label debut, Bad to the Bone, in 1982. The title track of the album became his first major crossover hit, thanks to MTV's saturation airplay of the song's video. The album went gold and spent nearly a full year on the charts. Thorogood's next three albums after Bad to the Bone all went gold. Between Bad to the Bone and Thorogood's next album, 1985's Maverick, the Destroyers added a second guitarist, Steve Chrismar.
By the beginning of the '90s, Thorogood's audience began to decrease. None of the albums he released went gold, even though the title track from 1993's Haircut was a number two album rock hit. Despite his declining record sales, Thorogood continued to tour blues and rock clubs and he usually drew large crowds; subsequent efforts included 1997's Rockin' My Life Away, 1999's Half a Boy/Half a Man, Live in '99, 2003's Ride 'Til I Die, and 2006's The Hard Stuff. Thorogood returned to EMI/Capitol in 2009, releasing the bar band covers album The Dirty Dozen. Two years later, he continued the covers journey with 2120 South Michigan Ave., a tribute to Chess Records.
Wikipedia:"The Destroyers" redirects here. For other uses, see Destroyer (disambiguation).
George Thorogood (born February 24, 1950) is an American blues rock musician from Wilmington, Delaware. His "high-energy boogie-blues" sound became a staple of 1980s rock radio, with hits like his original songs "Bad to the Bone" and "I Drink Alone". He has also helped popularize older songs by American icons, such as "Move It on Over," "Who Do You Love?" and "House Rent Boogie/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", which became staples of classic rock radio.
With his band, the Delaware Destroyers, Thorogood has released over 20 albums, of which two have been certified Platinum and six have been certified Gold. He has sold 15 million albums worldwide. Thorogood and band continue to tour extensively and in 2014 celebrated their 40th anniversary performing.Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. "George Thorogood & the Destroyers Biography". GeogreThorgood.Com. Fan Clubhouse, LLC. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
Thorogood began his career in the early 1970 as a solo acoustic performer in the style of Robert Johnson and Elmore James after being inspired by a John P. Hammond concert. However, he soon formed a band, the Delaware Destroyers (or just the Destroyers) with a high school friend, drummer Jeff Simon. With additional players they developed their own sound, a mixture of Chicago blues and rock and roll. Their first shows were in Lane Hall at the University of Delaware. Thorogood's demo, Better Than the Rest, was recorded in 1974, but was not released until 1979. His major recording debut came in 1976 with the album George Thorogood & The Destroyers, which was released in 1977. In 1978, Thorogood released his next album with the Destroyers titled Move It on Over, which included a remake of Hank Williams' "Move It on Over". "Please Set a Date" and their reworking of the Bo Diddley song "Who Do You Love?" both followed in 1979. The band's early success contributed to the rise of folk label Rounder Records.
In the early 1970s, Thorogood supplemented his income by working as a 'roadie' for Hound Dog Taylor. During the late 1970s, Thorogood and his band were based in Boston. He was friends with Jimmy Thackery of the Washington, D.C.-based blues band, 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 same key, Thorogood and Thackery left their clubs, met in the middle of M Street, exchanged guitar patch cords and went on to play with the opposite band in the other club. The connection with the Nighthawks was extended further, when Nighthawks bass player Jan Zukowski supported Thorogood's set at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, PA on July 13, 1985.
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, Thorogood and the Destroyers also became known for their rigorous touring schedule, including the "50/50" tour of 1981, 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, D.C. on the same day that they performed a show in Maryland, therefore playing 51 shows in 50 days.
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 television drama Miami Vice, the sci-fi thriller Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the animated cartoon Alvin and the Chipmunks, the comedies Problem Child, and Problem Child 2, Stephen King's Christine, and many episodes of the television sitcom Married... with Children. The track was also used during the intro to the movie Major Payne and in the 1988 drama film Talk Radio. The song is also featured in the game Rock 'n Roll Racing. It is also played during football pregame festivities at Mississippi State University and 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.
In 2012, Thorogood was named one of The 50 Most Influential Delawareans of the Past 50 Years.Cite error: The named reference web_bio was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Erlewine, Michael, ed. (1996). George Thorogood & the Destroyers. All Music Guide to the Blues (Miller Freeman Books). pp. 251–252. ISBN 0-87930-424-3. Rasmussen, Tracy. "In his inimitable way, Thorogood remains thoroughly good". Reading Eagle. Retrieved September 27, 2013. Scully, Michael F. (2008). The Never-Ending Revival. University of Illinois Press. p. 107. About Blues Washington Post Op Ed May 15, 1993 – "M Street Shuffle" – fact-checked correction to Weekend section feature "Tune Town"; May 7, 1993 Arar, Yardena (October 20, 1981). "Thorogood will play 50 states in 50 days". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 7th Inning interview on WGN Radio, June 27, 2007. "The 50 Most Influential Delawareans of the Past 50 Years". Delaware Today. March 14, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
Thorogood has been a baseball fan for most of his life, as well as playing semi-pro baseball as a second baseman during the 1970s (drummer Jeff Simon played center field on the same team). He took his daughter to Chicago for her first major league game (Cubs vs. Rockies), during which he sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". In a 2011 Guitar World interview, he stated "I'm a Mets fan. There aren't many of us, but you know, that's me."Cite error: The named reference WGN was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Interview: George Thorogood Discusses His New Album, '2120 South Michigan Ave.'". Guitar World. June 20, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2011.