Top 10 George Thorogood Songs

George Thorogood is one of the most celebrated American blues rock artists of all time, and for a good reason. His vicious slide-guitar style and gruff vocals are instantly recognizable and a trademark of his resolute approach to blues and rock. His music is raw, uncompromising, and, for the most part, straightforward. However, and most importantly, his music is fun and energy-packed.

George Lawrence Thorogood was born in Wilmington, Delaware on February 24, 1950. In his early years, he was heavily influenced by the sound of The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson, among others. To honor these inspirations and his vocation for music, he decided, at the age of 17, to pursue a career as a performing artist. He initiated his journey as a solo acoustic act but finally decided to go electric and establish a band, The Delaware Destroyers.  The group’s name was later changed, and then George Thorogood and The Destroyers came into life, and after decades of hit singles, high-selling albums, and extensive touring, the band has earned its righteous place in the pantheon of blues rock gods.  And even with nothing left to prove, George and his gang remain active, without any symptoms of stagnation.

To celebrate this hardened veteran and his bunch, let us discuss his top 10 songs. Please take into account that we decided to split the list into 5 five originals and 5 covers, in order to portray’s Thorogood’s ability to both create incredible renditions of classic songs as well as write his own stupendous originals.

10. ” If You Don’t Start Drinking (I’m Gonna Leave)”

This rapid-fire rocker, appearing on Boogie People (1991), is packed with fun and enthusiasm and includes great guitar work, a first-class saxophone solo, and a catchy chorus. The iconic lyrics are certainly not Shakespearean but deliver their message quite well, helping this cut achieve fan-favorite status.

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9. “The Sky Is Crying”

Originally appearing on Move It On Over (1978), this cover of Elmore James’s magnum opus is a slow-tempo, slide-guitar fest. As the song progresses, Thorogood punctures the body of the song with well-placed and tasty lead guitar notes, especially during the song’s bridge, when The Destroyers’ leader unleashes some of the best guns in his arsenal of fierce licks. It’s common knowledge that Thorogood is not a virtuoso, but that doesn’t stop him from playing remarkable lead guitar. This song is a prime example of such a fact.

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8. “No Expectations”

George Thorogood released Party Of One in 2012, a solo, mainly acoustic album where he revisits his influences. Without his Destroyers, George relies solely on guitars and vocals to pay tribute to his musical heroes. “No Expectations”, a heartfelt cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic, which is widely regarded as Brian Jones’s swan song, is the standout cut on the album and features a notable slide-guitar performance by Thorogood.

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7. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”

Appearing on George Thorogood And The Destroyers’ eponymous debut album (1977), this number is actually a medley of two songs by John Lee Hooker, the other being “House Rent Boogie”. The cut is built around a concise rhythm pattern that works as the background while Thorogood tells the tale of an unemployed man that gets evicted from home and proceeds to drink away his blues at the local bar. It’s a fan favorite and a staple of Thorogood’s live performances.

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6. “Get A Haircut”

This mid-paced, riff-driven hard-rocker, released on Haircut (1993), is another fan-favorite in Thorogood’s catalog. The catchy number is, lyrically, a portrayal of teenage rebellion and the rock n’ roll ethos that triumphs against conservative parents. It is Thorogood’s ferocious guitar performance that draws most of the attention in the song, though.

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5. “Gear Jammer”

This original track, a single from Thorogood’s certified gold album Maverick (1985), is distinguished by its delta blues-inspired mammoth slide-guitar riff which is imitated by the saxophone.  The hard-hitting bluesy rocker, whose title is slang for truck driver, is also one of the best vocal performances by Thorogood.

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4. “Wanted Man”

The original song, written by Bob Dylan, was made famous by Johnny Cash’s voice. Thorogood’s version (appearing on the 1982’s certified gold album Bad To The Bone) is a slow, country-ish acoustic piece that is more restrained than the original but still carries the same emotional eloquence. “Wanted Man” is a beautiful homage to two of Thorogood’s heroes, as well as one of his crowning achievements.

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3. “I Am A Steady Rollin’ Man”

A fired-up cover of Robert Johnson’s classic blues track,  “I Am A Steady Rollin’ Man” is a mid-tempo raging rocker driven by a muscular slide-guitar hook that features one of the best guitar performances by Thorogood.  An unquestionable song in the band’s catalog, and one of the best covers by a Robert Johnson song ever.  It appears originally on the compilation album The Baddest Of George Thorogood And The Destroyers (1992).

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2. “I Drink Alone”

This bluesy hard rock number was the second most commercially successful single in George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ career, and rightfully so. The fantastic song, released on Maverick (1985), features some of Thorogood’s best riffage and licks as well as a thundering sax solo. The track is also famous for its lyrics involving beverages metaphorically behaving like humans and accompanying the speaker’s lonely drinking spree.

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1. “Bad To The Bone”

The ultimate blues rock macho-man anthem. Inspired by the hook and lyrics of blues classics like Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man”, the song was released as the title track and lead single for Bad To The Bone (1982). It turned out to be a massive hit and George Thorogood and his Destroyers’ most well-known song, appearing in countless movies, most notably, in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  The powerful mid-tempo bluesy rock track is famous for its heavy sliding guitar riff (which is emulated by the saxophone during the verse), an array of fiery licks, and intense vocals. The lyrics are cheesy, of course, but perfectly fit the context and are one of the reasons the track is so popular. Also, a music video was recorded for the song and received relevant exposure on MTV at the time.

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Fidel Beserra

Fidel Beserra is a professional translator and occasional writer. As one would expect, he's also an enthusiastic lover of everything music-related.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 George Thorogood Songs

  • June 25, 2021 at 4:55 pm
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    Good list. I would’ve had “Night Time”, “Bottom of the Sea”, “Don’t let the boss get you down” and “Two Trains Running”.
    By the way, his self titled album from 1977 which was remixed and rereleased in 2015 is one of the best ever blues albums.

    Reply
  • April 23, 2022 at 5:06 pm
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    Down in the Bottom for a cover and Just Passin Thru for original.

    Reply

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