George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad To The Bone

19th March 2024 · 1980s, 1981, Blues, Music

One of the best riffs of all time when Muddy Waters recorded it back in 1955, it somehow sounds even better in the dextrous hands of George Thorogood a quarter of a century later.

Thus was born Bad To The Bone from the ashes of Mannish Boy to become the signature tune of George Thorogood and the Destroyers in the early ’80s.

It’s electric and electrifying: that riff is the perfect vehicle for Thorogood’s snarling, stuttering delivery, describing how he was born bad… and stayed that way. The guitar solo is appropriately nasty, and there’s a great sax break by the late Hank ‘Hurricane’ Carter.

The badass bluesman from Delaware fuses Elmore James’s slide guitar sound with the urgent rhythms of Bo Diddley and the ferocity of rock’n’roll and his group – The Delaware Destroyers – are the ultimate bar band.

There’s a comment on YouTube that caught my eye, summing up the appeal of the song: “I have such fond memories of my drunk dad being forcibly removed from our house by law enforcement while this song was playing on the stereo at full volume. God I miss the good old days.”

Everyone must know this song from its appearance in so many films and TV shows: from Christine and The Color Of Money to Terminator 2 and Lethal Weapon, Bull Durham and The Parent Trap, to name just a few.

Even more know it from this video, in which Bo Diddley – the real legendary Bo Diddley – puts down his box guitar ‘Bertha’ to challenge George to a game of pool.

The cool-looking old white dude who comes in and slaps down a bet (on Bo) is real-life pool legend Willie Mosconi. Does he win his wager? You’ll have to wait til the last few frames to find out.