George Thorogood is an American musician who rose to prominence in the 1980s. He had numerous original hits. However, he is also notable because he re-popularized hits by even older generations of American musicians. On the whole, Thorogood and his band, the Delaware Destroyers, have been very successful.
They have released 15 studio albums over their career. Moreover, they have sold millions and millions of records. Here are 10 of the best George Thorogood songs ever released:
10. “If You Don’t Start Drinking (I’m Gonna Leave)
Thorogood released his eighth studio album Boogie People in 1991. It opened with the song “If You Don’t Start Drinking (I’m Gonna Leave).” The song is a fun twist on a well-worn narrative. Essentially, the singer is giving an ultimatum to his lover at a potential breaking point in their relationship. The funny thing is that he is asking her to start drinking because there is no way he is going sober.
9. “Who Do You Love”
“Who Do You Love” is an excellent example of Thorogood’s habit of re-popularizing hits by even older generations of American musicians. Originally, the song belonged to Bo Diddley, an influential figure during the emergence of rock music from the blues. Since then, a wide range of musicians has covered the song. Even so, Thorogood’s version stands out as one of the best, which is no small accomplishment considering the competition.
8. “Wanted Man”
“Wanted Man” is another cover. However, the original is associated with not one but two music legends because Bob Dylan wrote it for Johnny Cash. Thorogood didn’t try to do a one-for-one copy of the original. Instead, his version is slower and more restrained but no less skillful, thus enabling it to stand on its own by standing apart.
7. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”
Given the name, interested individuals might assume that Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” is a straightforward cover of Amos Milburn’s recording from the 1950s. The truth is more complicated than that.
For those curious, Amos Milburn’s recording called “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” was popular enough to inspire several covers. In particular, John Lee Hooker was the one who covered it under the name “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” which signaled that he had made it his own while still acknowledging its ultimate origins.
Subsequently, Thorogood did the same by combining Hooker’s version with another Hooker song “House Rent Boogie.” The result makes the song’s viewpoint character more sympathetic than ever. He is homeless because he has been evicted from his home. Due to that, he is drowning his sorrows at the bar because he doesn’t have anywhere else to go.
6. “The Sky Is Crying”
Elmore James wrote and recorded “The Sky Is Crying” back in the late 1950s. Later, Thorogood covered it for Move It On Over in 1978. The song is a classic example of nature echoing the singer’s emotions. Thorogood manages to sell it well through a combo of pleasing vocals plus solid guitar playing.
5. “Move It On Over”
Speaking of which, chances are good that interested individuals can guess “Move It On Over” was on the same studio album as “The Sky Is Crying.” Once again, this was a cover of someone else’s original. In this case, Hank Williams was the one who recorded the original in the late 1940s.
Regardless, Thorogood made it his own by giving it a rock-and-roll feel. The intended listeners responded with enthusiasm, as shown by how the song went gold with more than 500,000 copies sold in the United States. “Move It On Over” also went platinum in Canada, which sounds more impressive but isn’t. Back in those days, 100,000 copies sold were enough for that certification in that country.
4. “You Talk Too Much”
“You Talk Too Much” is about exactly what it sounds like. As a result, it is hard not to find it at least a bit relatable because pretty much everyone knows someone who fits the description. Thorogood just managed to put the sentiment in a much more audibly-pleasing package than what most of us can ever manage.
3. “I Am a Steady Rollin’ Man”
Robert Johnson was a blues legend of the early 20th century. Sadly, his career lasted just a short time because he died at a young age. It isn’t clear what happened. Some stories say he died from syphilis. Other stories say someone murdered him.
Regardless, Johnson’s output remained influential, as shown by how Thorogood covered “I Am a Steady Rollin’ Man” for a compilation album in 1992. The latter is a more energetic, more up-to-date version of the original that benefits a great deal from Thorogood’s mastery of his chosen instrument.
2. “I Drink Alone”
Some people favor drinking with like-minded companions. In contrast, other people prefer to be alone with their drinks and their thoughts. Given “I Drink Alone,” it seems safe to say Thorogood falls into the latter camp more often than not. The song’s surliness gives it a wonderful snarl. Thanks to that, “I Drink Alone” isn’t just one of Thorogood’s most famous songs but also one of Thorogood’s most commercially-successful songs.
1. “Bad to the Bone”
“Bad to the Bone” came out on the studio album of the same name in 1982. It didn’t meet with widespread success right away. Instead, its popularity built up bit by bit over time. Some of that momentum came from its repeated play on the just-established MTV. The rest came from its use in movies, TV shows, and commercials. Put together, “Bad to the Bone” gradually became one of the most iconic songs of the 1980s, thus enabling it to outlast the overwhelming majority of its one-time peers.
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