Bad To The Bone

Album: Bad to the Bone (1982)
  • 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 shows Thorogood playing pool against Bo Diddley in a place where there is no chance of a dance sequence breaking out. Pool champion Willie Mosconi also appears in the clip, which introduced Thorogood - and to some extent, Diddley - to the younger MTV crowd. Among the British New Wave acts that dominated MTV's 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. TV series to use the song include Top Gear, South Park, Nurse Jackie, My Name Is Earl, Las Vegas, According to Jim, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Married... with Children (three times), and Miami Vice. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ricky - Los Angeles, CA
  • In the 2019 The Good Place episode "A Chip Driver Mystery," there's this bit of dialogue between Bad Janet (D'Arcy Carden) and Michael (Ted Danson):

    Janet: "To quote a terrible song by a terrible musician that people love so much they constantly put it in terrible movie trailers, humans are b-b-b-b-b-b-bad to the bone."

    Michael: "Well, I think that they're g-g-good sometimes. And you should give them the b-b-benefit of the d-d-doubt."

Comments: 8

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaBryce thanks and ouch sounds hard on them poor strings.
  • Bryce from Lima, OhJennifur, I believe he got that real scratchy effect by taking a metal guitar slide and scraping it across the strings, near the pickups. You can see him doing it in the video for the song.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDoes anyone know how he got those effects on this guitar? Also who played sax and drums.
  • Shawn from Green Bay, WiOne of the baddest ass songs of all time. Never gets old.
  • Jorge from Bronx, NySaw him live,back then I didn't knew much about him,but it was exciting to see play,great guitarist,,and when i listen to this tune the '59 Plymouth Fury comes to life,lol
  • Tony from Connellsville, Pathe song is not about being uncircumsiced its about a person thats just bad to the bone......dumbass
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis was also the main theme for the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio.
  • Thomas from Fuquay Varina, NcI was thinking about these lyrics and I was wondering if maybe George was extolling the "virtue"
    of being uncircumcised. I wouldn't know, myself. But
    some of the lyrics sounds like that is what he is singing about.
see more comments

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Name the Character in the SongMusic Quiz

With a few clues (Works at a diner, dreams of running away), can you name the character in the song?