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George Thorogood & The Destroyers

  • 🇺🇸 Wilmington, DE
  • Years Active
    1973 - Now
George Thorogood and the Destroyers channeled the sounds of classic Chicago blues and early rock'n'roll to become mainstays of FM radio during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Thorogood, drummer Jeff Simon and rhythm guitarist Ron "Roadblock" Smith played their first gig as the Destroyers at the University of Delaware in late 1973; Smith resigned soon after, and with the addition of bassist Michael Levine, the group began playing clubs throughout Philadelphia and New England. Over time, the Destroyers augmented their repertoire of blues and Chuck Berry covers with a handful of Thorogood originals, two of which - "Homesick Boy" and "Delaware Slide" - were featured on their self-titled 1977 Rounder Records debut, recorded with new bassist Billy Blough.

The Destroyers returned in 1978 with Move It on Over: the title track, a turbocharged cover of the Hank Williams country classic retrofitted with a driving Bo Diddley beat, remains a staple of FM radio, alongside the group's rendition of Diddley's own "Who Do You Love?" Move It on Over sold more than 150,000 copies in a matter of months, galvanized by raves for the Destroyers' frenzied live show. More George Thorogood and the Destroyers appeared on Rounder in late 1980, and the band spent much of the year ahead on the road, first as the support act during the Rolling Stones' North American stadium tour and later headlining its own 50-50 headlining tour, playing all 50 U.S. states over a span of 50 consecutive days.

Thorogood and the Destroyers signed to major label EMI Records ahead of their self-produced fifth LP Bad to the Bone. The snarling, stuttering title track failed to chart during its original 1982 release, but the blues-rock anthem is now permanently ensconced in America's collective consciousness thanks to decades of use and abuse in Hollywood features, television shows and commercials. Thorogood notched his first and only Hot 100 entry when the Destroyers' cover of Johnny Otis' "Willie and the Hand Jive" - the first single from their sixth LP, Maverick - reached number 31 in Billboard in 1985. As of this writing in mid-2023, the Destroyers continue to tour the U.S., still led by the core lineup of Thorogood, Simon and Blough.

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