George Thorogood

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George Thorogood
Thorogood performing at the Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in 2006
Thorogood performing at the Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in 2006
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Lawrence Thorogood
Born (1950-02-24) February 24, 1950 (age 74)
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1973–present

George Lawrence Thorogood (born February 24, 1950) is an American musician, singer and songwriter from Wilmington, Delaware.[1] His "high-energy boogie-blues" sound became a staple of 1980s USA rock radio, with hits like his original songs "Bad to the Bone" and "I Drink Alone".[2] He has also helped to popularize older songs by American icons, such as "Move It on Over", "Who Do You Love?", and "House Rent Blues/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer".[3]

With his band, the Delaware Destroyers (often known simply as "The Destroyers"), Thorogood has released over 20 albums, two of which have been certified Platinum and six have been certified Gold. He has sold 15 million records worldwide. Thorogood and his band continue to tour extensively, and in 2014, the band celebrated their 40th anniversary of performing.

Music career[edit]

Thorogood began his career as a solo acoustic performer in the style of Robert Johnson and Elmore James[2] after being inspired in 1970 by a John P. Hammond concert.[4] In 1973, he formed a band, the Delaware Destroyers, with high school friend and drummer Jeff Simon.[2] With additional players, the Delaware Destroyers developed its sound, a mixture of Chicago blues and rock and roll.[4] The band's first shows were in the Rathskeller bar at the University of Delaware and at Deer Park Tavern, both in Newark, Delaware.[5][6] Eventually, the band's name was shortened to the Destroyers. During this time, Thorogood supplemented his income by working as a roadie for Hound Dog Taylor.[7]

Thorogood's demo Better Than the Rest was recorded in 1974, but was not released until 1979. His major recording debut came with the album George Thorogood and the Destroyers, which was released in 1977. In 1978, Thorogood released his next album with the Destroyers titled Move It on Over, which included a remake of Hank Williams's "Move It on Over". He followed those recordings in 1979 with "Please Set a Date" and a reworking of the Bo Diddley song "Who Do You Love", both released in 1979. The band's early success contributed to the rise of folk label Rounder Records.[8]

Thorogood performing at William Paterson College, April 23, 1986

During the late 1970s, Thorogood and his band were based in Boston. He was friends with Jimmy Thackery of the Washington, D.C.-based blues band, The Nighthawks. While touring in the 1970s, the Destroyers and the Nighthawks were playing shows in Georgetown at venues across the street from each other. The Destroyers were engaged at the Cellar Door and the Nighthawks at Desperados. At midnight, while both bands played Elmore James's "Madison Blues" in the same key, Thorogood and Thackery left their clubs, met in the middle of M Street, exchanged guitar cords and went on to play with the opposite band in the other club.[9] The connection with the Nighthawks was extended further when Nighthawks bass player Jan Zukowski supported Thorogood's set with Bo Diddley and Albert Collins at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 13, 1985.[10]

Thorogood gained his first mainstream exposure as a support act for the Rolling Stones during their 1981 U.S. tour.[10] He was also the featured musical guest on Saturday Night Live (Season 8, Episode 2) on the October 2, 1982, broadcast. During this time, Thorogood and the Destroyers became known for their rigorous touring schedule, including the "50/50" tour in 1981,[11] on which the band toured all 50 US states in 50 days.[12] After two shows in Boulder, Colorado, Thorogood and his band flew to Hawaii for one show and then performed a show in Alaska the following night. The next day, Thorogood and his band met his roadies in Washington and continued the one-show-per-state tour. In addition, he played Washington, D.C., on the same day that he performed a show in Maryland, thereby playing 51 shows in 50 days.[citation needed]

Thorogood (center) receives the MMP Music Award and Hall of Fame Honors with William Lewis IV, Alexis Paige, Joseph W. Clark, and Kevin Edwards

With his contract with Rounder Records expiring, Thorogood signed with EMI America Records and, in 1982, released the single "Bad to the Bone" and an album of the same name that went gold. The song became the band's most well-known song[13] through appearances on MTV and use in films, television and commercials. Thorogood and his band went on to have two more gold studio albums in the 1980s, Maverick and Born to Be Bad. The former features Thorogood's only Billboard Hot 100 hit, a remake of Johnny Otis's "Willie and the Hand Jive", and his concert staple "I Drink Alone".[14]

Thorogood's popularity waned in the 1990s, although he had a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart in 1992 with "Get a Haircut".[14]

In 2012, Thorogood was named one of the "50 Most Influential Delawareans of the Past 50 Years".[15] He released his first proper solo album in 2017, titled Party of One.

On March 14, 2020, Thorogood was inducted into the Mississippi Music Project Hall of Fame in Biloxi, Mississippi, and was awarded the MMP Music Award for his lifelong commitment to the music industry,[16] by Joseph W. Clark.[citation needed]

Hank Carter, who served as the saxophonist for Thorogood's band from 1980 to 2003, died on September 14, 2021, at the age of 71.[17]

On April 11, 2023, Thorogood's social media pages announced that he was seriously ill, although the nature of his illness was not disclosed. Tour dates from April 27 to May 21 were all cancelled.[18]

Band members[edit]

Thorogood and Jim Suhler performing in 2010

The Destroyers[edit]

  • George Thorogood – lead vocals, lead, slide and rhythm guitar (1973–present)
  • Jeff Simon – drums, percussion (1973–present)
  • Billy Blough – bass guitar (1976–present)
  • Jim Suhler – rhythm and lead guitar (1999–present)
  • Buddy Leach – saxophone, piano (2003–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Michael Levine – bass (1973–1976)
  • Ron "Roadblock" Smith – rhythm guitar (1974–1980)
  • Hank "Hurricane" Carter – saxophone (1980–2003; died 2021)[17]
  • Ian Stewart – keyboards (1982; died 1985)
  • Steve Chrismar – rhythm guitar (1985–1993)
  • Waddy Wachtel – guitar (1997)



Studio albums with the Destroyers[edit]

Solo studio album[edit]

  • 2017: Party of One[19]

Personal life[edit]

George Thorogood married Marla Raderman on July 16, 1985.[20] She died from ovarian cancer in 2019.[21] They have one daughter, Rio Thorogood. [22]

Thorogood has been a baseball fan[12] for most of his life, playing semi-pro ball as a second baseman during the 1970s (drummer Jeff Simon played center field on the same team). He took his daughter to Chicago for her first major league game (Cubs vs. Rockies), during which he sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". In a 2011 Guitar World interview, he stated "I'm a Mets fan. There aren't many of us but you know, that's me."[23]

In April 2023, Thorogood had to cancel the first leg of his 50th anniversary tour due to a serious medical situation.[24]


  1. ^ a b Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ a b c "George Thorogood & the Destroyers Biography". GeorgeThorgood.Com. Fan Clubhouse, LLC. Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Poling, Dean (March 19, 2010). "Bad to the funny bone". The Valdosta Daily Times. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Erlewine, Michael, ed. (1996). "George Thorogood & the Destroyers". All Music Guide to the Blues. Miller Freeman Books. pp. 251–252. ISBN 0-87930-424-3.
  5. ^ "Clipped From The Morning News". The Morning News. January 15, 1978. p. 62. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Simmons, Karie. "George Thorogood fan selling musician's former Newark home". Newark Post. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Gordon, Keith A. "Hound Dog Taylor & the HouseRockers Profile". Archived from the original on January 31, 2011.
  8. ^ Scully, Michael F. (2008). The Never-Ending Revival. University of Illinois Press. p. 107.
  9. ^ Washington Post Op Ed May 15, 1993 – "M Street Shuffle" – fact-checked correction to Weekend section feature "Tune Town"; May 7, 1993
  10. ^ a b Larkin, Colin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 1177/8. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  11. ^ Arar, Yardena (October 20, 1981). "Thorogood will play 50 states in 50 days". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
  12. ^ a b 7th Inning interview on WGN Radio, June 27, 2007.
  13. ^ Beviglia, Jim (2018). "'Bad to the Bone' by George Thorogood and the Destroyers". Playing Back the 80s: A Decade of Unstoppable Hits. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 79. ISBN 9781538116401.
  14. ^ a b "George Thorogood & the Destroyers Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "The 50 Most Influential Delawareans of the Past 50 Years". Delaware Today. March 14, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  16. ^ "George Thorogood". Retrieved September 11, 2021.
  17. ^ a b Hooke, Matt (October 1, 2021). "Newark's Hank Carter, saxophonist for George Thorogood, dies at 71". Newark Post.
  18. ^ Benitez-Eves, Tina (April 12, 2023). "George Thorogood Forced to Cancel Shows Due to Undisclosed 'Serious Medical Condition'". American Songwriter.
  19. ^ Hassler, Abby (May 9, 2017). "George Thorogood to Release First-Ever Solo Album 'Party of One'". Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  20. ^ "George Thorogood Biography". IMDb.
  22. ^ "'Blowing Your Mind' with the great George Thorogood". March 3, 2023.
  23. ^ "Interview: George Thorogood Discusses His New Album, '2120 South Michigan Ave.'". Guitar World. June 20, 2011. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  24. ^ "GEORGE THOROGOOD Cancels Tour Dates After Being Diagnosed with 'Very Serious Medical Condition'". April 11, 2023.

External links[edit]