Being ‘b-b-b-bad’ has been good for blues-rocker George Thorogood
Sometimes it’s good to be bad. Bad to the bone, that is.
The 1982 song by that name sure paid off for George Thorogood and The Destroyers, who will play Greensburg’s Palace Theatre on Oct. 10, despite never making the charts.
“Bad to the Bone” gained popularity when the video went into heavy rotation on MTV. With lyrics like, “I broke a thousand hearts/Before I met you/I’ll break a thousand more, baby/Before I’m through,” it was a natural as a tongue-in-cheek intro for the bad guy in numerous movies and television shows.
It played when Stephen King’s horror car “Christine” rolled off the assembly line, and when Arnold Schwarzenegger first appeared in full leathers in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” On “Married … with Children,” it played when hapless dad Al Bundy was getting up to something.
In his 2018 book, “Playing Back the 80s: A Decade of Unstoppable Hits,” music writer Jim Beviglia even says it “outstrips all other ‘80s songs in terms of the way it has essentially become cultural shorthand.”
Long wait is over
“George Thorogood and the Destroyers is one of our best-selling fall concerts at The Palace,” says Teresa Baughman, the venue’s director of operations and programming. “Fans have waited a long time since he last played here a decade ago, and I’m sure they won’t be disappointed.”
Thorogood’s previous appearance at The Palace was Aug. 7, 2009, with blues-rocker Jonny Lang “in what appears to have been a near sellout,” Baughman says.
Despite the ubiquity of “Bad to the Bone,” Thorogood and band have a deep well to draw from for the Greensburg audience.
He cemented his rough-around-the-edges persona with his gravelly voice and songs like the 1985 original, “I Drink Alone,” along with popular covers of Hank Williams’ “Move It on Over,” Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” and Amos Milburn’s 1953 drinking anthem, “One Bourbon, One Shot, One Beer.”
The Destroyers’ most recent album is “2120 South Michigan Ave.” from 2011. In 2017, Thorogood released a solo album called “Party of One.”
Thorogood formed his band in the late 1970s in Delaware. He credits his bluesy-boogie-rock style to early influences like Elmore James and Robert Johnson, whom legend says sold his soul to the devil to become king of the Delta Blues.
The band gained national recognition by touring with the Rolling Stones in 1981. That year, they also completed a “50/50” U.S. tour, a one-show-per-state tour that hit all 50 states in 50 nights.
No slowing down
The 69-year-old singer/guitarist and band marked 40 years of touring in 2014, and show no signs of slowing down. The current tour has almost back-to-back dates across the U.S. through late October, followed by January shows in Australia and New Zealand.
“The day I don’t get excited about (touring), that’s the day I’ll stop doing it. That’s what our act is all about. Let’s face it — we’re more like a party band,” Thorogood said in a 2015 interview on vintagerock.com. “If we don’t have that enthusiasm, we’re not going to get it off the ground.”
When asked if he remembered any particularly monumental gigs, Thorogood responded, “They’re all monumental to me. The fact that I’m getting on stage … is a monument. A monument and a testament.”
Which bodes well for the show at The Palace.
“It’s amazing to see a legendary act such as Thorogood’s so close to home,” Baughman says.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .