Bad to the Bone
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|"Bad to the Bone"|
|Single by George Thorogood & the Destroyers|
|from the album Bad to the Bone|
|B-side||"No Particular Place to Go"|
|Released||September 17, 1982|
|Genre||Blues rock, hard rock|
|Producer(s)||The Delaware Destroyers|
|George Thorogood & the Destroyers singles chronology|
"Bad to the Bone" is a song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers released in 1982 on the album of the same name. While it was not a major hit on initial release, its video made recurrent appearances on the nascent MTV, which was created a year before. Licensing for films, television, and commercials has since made "Bad to the Bone" better recognized.
Structure and influences
The song's roots can be traced back to rock and roll musician Bo Diddley's song "I'm a Man", which uses a similar guitar riff and vocal rhythm, and has a similar overall structure, as well as Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy" or "Hoochie Coochie Man", John Lee Hooker's "I'm Bad Like Jesse James", and Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "Gangster of Love". The riff is also very similar to the one from Chuck Berry's song "No Money Down" as well as Elvis Presley's "Trouble".
The video intercuts a live performance by Thorogood and his band with his playing a lengthy game of pool with Bo Diddley. Pool player Willie Mosconi is summoned from another room by a spectator, and he wagers a large sum of money on Diddley. As Thorogood appears to be winning, a group of children outside celebrate while Diddley gets a dirty look from Mosconi.
Thorogood smokes a fat cigar throughout the pool-playing sequence. The video ends with Thorogood making the 8 ball drop into a pocket by flicking a large quantity of cigar ash on the floor, apparently triggering the drop of the ball in the pocket.
Appearances in other media
Film and television
The song has been used in filmmaking and television productions, often when a "bad guy" needs to be introduced or identified. The song was used in the bar scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day where the Terminator first is shown in his full leather outfit. It can also be heard in the remake of The Parent Trap and in the opening scene and under the credits of Christine. The song was used in the scenes in the 1988 drama film Talk Radio in the scenes where radio talk show host Barry Champlain's radio show, used as the opening and closing theme of his radio show. It was also used in the 2010 3D animation movie, Megamind. It was also the title theme to Problem Child and its sequel, and Major Payne.
The song was used many times in Married... with Children, when Al Bundy does something fun, usually followed by the line "Let's Rock." For example in "Hot off the Grill", "A Man's Castle", "Heels on Wheels" episodes.
The song was referenced in the episode of Family Matters, Crash Course, by Steve Urkel when Eddie Winslow crashed the family station wagon in the living without a driver's license. Urkel stated the he is bad to the bone and that bad is his middle name.
Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for the episode "Alvin's Oldest Fan" from their TV series. It was also featured in the episode "Endless Summer" of the series Renegade. Almost the entire record can be heard at the beginning of the episode "Nobody Lives Forever" on the TV series Miami Vice. An episode of Disney's TV show 101 Dalmatians: The Series has an episode named after the song.
In 2008, "Bad to the Bone" was used for a Wrangler Jeans TV commercial featuring Dale Earnhardt, Jr. A similar commercial featuring Brett Favre was released later that year. A modified version of the song was used in a TV ad for the Buick Grand National. In advertisements for the TV show Lost, the song was used as the theme music for the character James "Sawyer" Ford. In 2013, it was heard in a TV commercial for Bank of America.
The song is used by Dennis Anderson's Grave Digger monster truck as entrance music, and plays during his portion of the freestyle round at Monster Jam events, and as an entrance theme for closing pitcher Takashi Saito of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was also played during every at bat of former Seattle Mariners slugger Jay Buhner and former Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres slugger Ryan Klesko.
The song is also used as an entrance theme song in professional wrestling. Multiple wrestlers have used it as their theme song, such as Kevin Wacholz, who used the song in the 1980s as "Mr. Magnificent" Kevin Kelly while wrestling for the American Wrestling Association and Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams as "The Bad to the Bone Boys" in World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas. American mixed martial artist Phil Baroni used it as his entrance song at UFC 106. It was also used by the Bad Crew.
Chicago area musician James Pobiega, who goes by the stage name "Little Howlin' Wolf", has claimed that he wrote "Bad to the Bone" and that Thorogood stole it from him.