Bad to the Bone is a song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers released in 1982 on the album of the same name. While it was not a major hit on initial release, its video made recurrent appearances on the nascent MTV, which was created a year before. Licensing for films, television, and commercials has since made Bad to the Bone better recognized.
Structure and influences
The songs roots can be traced back to rock and roll musician Bo Diddleys song Im a Man, which uses a similar guitar riff and vocal rhythm, and has a similar overall structure, as well as Muddy Waterss Mannish Boy or Hoochie Coochie Man and Johnny Guitar Watsons Gangster of Love. The riff is also very similar to the one from Chuck Berrys song No Money Down as well as Elvis Presleys Trouble.
The video intercuts a live performance by Thorogood and his band with his playing a lengthy game of pool with Bo Diddley. Pool player Willie Mosconi is summoned from another room by a spectator, and he wagers a large sum of money on Diddley. As Thorogood appears to be winning, a group of children outside celebrate while Diddley gets a dirty look from Mosconi.
Thorogood smokes a fat cigar throughout the pool-playing sequence. The video ends with Thorogood making the 8 ball drop into a pocket by flicking a large quantity of cigar ash on the floor, apparently triggering the drop of the ball in the pocket.
Chicago area musician James Pobiega, who goes by the stage name Little Howlin Wolf, has claimed that he wrote Bad to the Bone and that Thorogood stole it from him.
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