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This is based on the Bo Diddley Blues song "I'm A Man
." Thorogood is influenced by The Blues, and Diddley is one of his heroes. Thorogood's version has a much heavier guitar sound, which replaces the harmonica in Diddley's recording. Both songs are full of swagger, with the singers exuding lots of testosterone.
The phrase "Bad To The Bone" means there isn't a bit of good in him. Other songs have been published with that title, but Thorogood popularized it and created a modern Blues classic with this song. Some artists to cover it include The Countdown Singers, Molly Hatchet and The Starlite Singers. Hip-Hop artist Tek did a Rap version of the song.
With MTV coming on the air in 1981, Thorogood picked a good time to release a memorable video. The clip showed Thorogood playing pool against Bo Diddley in a place where there was no chance of a dance sequence breaking out. Pool champion Willie Mosconi also appears in the video, which introduced Thorogood - and to some extent, Diddley - to the younger MTV crowd. Among the British New Wave acts that dominated MTV playlist at the time, Thorogood certainly stood out, and he created an image of a bad man. While Thorogood is a disciple of the Blues, he was raised in a Delaware suburb and by most accounts is actually a pretty nice guy, despite what he claims in this song.
This song was featured in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day when Arnold Schwarzenegger steps out of a bar wearing biker clothes. It also appears in the movies The Parent Trap, Major Payne, Christine and Problem Child. (thanks, Ricky - Los Angeles, CA)
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