Bad to the Bone
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|"Bad to the Bone"|
|Single by George Thorogood and 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 and 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 widely popular during its initial release, its video made recurrent appearances on the nascent MTV, created a year before. Licensing for films, television, and commercials has since made the song more popular.
Structure and influences
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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 Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man", Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy," 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 "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 Diddley. Pool player Willie Mosconi is summoned from another room by a spectator (played by Michael Parks), 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.
- George Thorogood–guitar, vocals
- Billy Blough–bass
- Jeff Simon–drums
- Hank Carter–saxophone
- Ian Stewart–piano
Appearances in other media
Film and television
The song has been used in filmmaking and television productions, often as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device when a "bad guy" needs to be introduced or identified. Perhaps the best example of this is in the opening of the movie Christine, where the song is played as the red and white 1957 Plymouth Fury rolls down the production line and injures an inspector. 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 card game scene from the remake of The Parent Trap. 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. It is also included in the South Park episode "You're Not Yelping" while Cartman walks down a hallway. It is also played during Shaun the Sheep Movie after Shaun is caught by Animal Containment.
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 that 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 by 2-Time World Champion Professional Bull Rider JB Mauney.
The song is also used as an entrance theme song in professional wrestling. Multiple wrestlers have used it as their theme song, such as L. A. Park in Mexico, 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.
On October 7, 2008, the song was released as downloadable content for the music video game series Rock Band. It also featured in Rock Band Track Pack: Classic Rock. The video game Rock 'n Roll Racing also uses it.
Talk show host Bill Cunningham uses the song as the opening intro to his afternoon talk show on WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, and on his Sunday night radio show. The song E.V.I.L. B.O.Y.S. from the hit Disney show Phineas and Ferb sampled the base melody of the song to give it a Blues-sound.
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.
- Mehr, Bob (10 November 2005). "Out of the Wilderness". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 13 June 2014.