Saturday, August 7, 2010

Delaware's Bad to the Bone Bluesman - Life and Times of George Thorogood

George Thorogood and the Destroyers (album)Image via Wikipedia
By Matthew Jorn

The world welcomed George Thorogood on February 24, 1950. He was one of five children living in suburban Wilmington Delaware. He showed great promise as a youth on the baseball diamond and by the age of 20, George was a up-and-coming semi-pro baseball player. Around this time he saw a performance by legendary New York City bluesman John Hammond and the musical seed was planted.

There was still baseball however, and in 1974 George Thorogood and the Destroyers were at odds regarding the amount of time being allocated to baseball and not music. The band moved to Boston to seek better gigs and broader exposure. With a heavy heart Thorogood quit baseball and joined his bandmates full time in Boston.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers made a name for themselves by taking classic blues standards and repackaging them for the contemporary audience; songs by Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, and Hank Williams found their way to a whole new audience in the vessel of Thorogood's raspy voice and singing slide guitar work coupled with the Destroyers' relentless thumping rhythms.

In 1977, George Thorogood and the Destroyers released their first album. This self-titled effort immediately made a splash in the rock music scene which had become overrun by glam acts like the New York Dolls and was losing ground fast to the disco music trend. Thorogood's unassuming jeans and T-shirt mentality lent a such of authenticity to his blues music and rang true with fans who did not feel that rock and roll required mascara.

The band built a reputation for working hard as their 1981 tour criss-crossed the United States. They played all fifty states in fifty days in 1980, then followed that up with a legendary appearance on Saturday Night Live.

In 1982 the song Bad to the Bone was released. Drawing on the musical traditions of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Bo Diddley this slide guitar and saxophone rocker has become part of the musical lexicon. It has been featured in advertising, television, shows and movies ranging from Terminator 2 to Problem Child. The song continues to gain new fans as experiencing George Thorogood's music has become a rite of passage for young musician's everywhere. Flanked with "Move it on Over" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", it is no surprise that the self-titled George Thorogood and the Destroyers album is a mainstay in every good bar with a good jukebox.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers still tour regularly; one amazing accomplishment is that the drummer (Jeff Simon) and bassist (Billy Blough) along with Thorogood are founding members with over 30 years service to the band each. Over time the band has gone through three rhythm guitarists and two saxophonists.

Mr. Thorogood still keeps a home in Wilmington near the rest of his family and is still an avid baseball fan. On June 27, 2007 he achieved great personal milestone, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.

This article about one of Delaware's favorite sons was written by Matthew Jorn and is presented by Willis Chestertown Ford Dealers. Looking for a great deal on a Ford F150 Chestertown residents trust Willis Ford for all their vehicle needs.

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