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No. 93: George Thorogood, ‘Bad to the Bone’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

george-thorogood-the-destroyers-bad-to-the-bone-cover-art
EMI America

George Thorogood and the Destroyers are known for their rockin’ covers of all kinds of blues songs, but the band is probably best known for a song George wrote himself: ‘Bad to the Bone.’

It didn’t get much attention when it was released on the 1982 album of the same name, but MTV liked it and put the video for the track into heavy rotation.

The clip features a live performance by the Destroyers along with scenes of a cigar-chomping Thorogood shooting pool with Bo Diddley, and that may not have been happenstance — George is known for covering Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love?,’ and music lovers have pointed out the guitar riff and vocal rhythms in ‘Bad to the Bone’ sound like they were inspired by the iconic bluesman’s classic song, ‘I’m a Man.’

The MTV love helped ‘Bad to the Bone’ catch fire, and it’s since been licensed out to scores of movies, TV shows and commercials. It’s also played at sporting events all over the country, and several professional wrestlers have adopted it as their theme song. And while this isn’t exactly as bad-ass, the song was introduced to a much younger generation when Alvin and the Chipmunks covered it for an episode of their television series.

Thirty years after the release of ‘Bad to the Bone,’ the Destroyers continue to tour extensively, and last year the group released their 16th studio album, ‘2120 South Michigan Ave.’

But even though ‘Bad to the Bone’ was his greatest commercial success, the 62-year-old Thorogood isn’t terribly interested in writing another Top 100 Classic Rock Song about hard-drinking tough guys.

“I’ve covered that subject,” he once said in an interview. “It was never a dominating idea in my repertoire to begin with — it just happened that way. People will say, ‘I got this great song about a real bad guy in a bar,’ and I go, ‘I think the world has enough songs like that.'”

Next Song: We Help You Party Down

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Watch George Thorogood Perform ‘Bad to the Bone’

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