Monday, April 2, 2018

"Willie and the Hand Jive" by George Thorogood & the Destroyers

Song#:  2361
Date:  06/15/1985
Debut:  89
Peak:  63
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  This Delaware blues musician along with his band The Destroyers gained some notoriety when a self-titled debut album appeared on the fledgling Rounder Records label in 1977. His next LP, Move It on Over, would be even more successful thanks to tracks like "Who Do You Love" getting attention on rock radio stations. The album would be a gold-seller that would eventually lead to an opening slot on a Rolling Stones tour and an appearance on Saturday Night Live. Thorogood left Rounder for EMI and recorded his next LP, 1982's Bad to the Bone. The title track, written by Thorogood, would only get to #26 at Rock, but over time its popularity grew and it became a signature tune that would be used in movies, TV shows, and ads. His next release, Maverick, would be another commercial success reaching #32 and going gold. It's popularity was mainly due to three Top 30 Rock tracks including this song, which crossed over to the Pop chart for a couple of months. It would be Thorogood's only song to reach the Pop chart. He would have continued success over the years gathering four Top 10 Rock tracks along with six gold and two platinum albums.

ReduxReview:  So when Thorogood's name came up on the chart, I fully expected the song to be "Bad to the Bone." I mean, how many times was that song played on rock radio and the video run on MTV? It seemed like a ton. However, that song took a long time to get off the ground, so it was never going to be a chart contender. But that's the song folks remember from Thorogood. They don't think of this remake, which became his only Pop chart song. Thorogood does his thing with this Diddley-beat tune and it's just fine. The thing about Thorogood is that he does what he does well, but he doesn't color outside the lines. You pretty much know what you are gonna get when you hear one of his tracks. If you like what he does, then it works out.  If you don't, then you just ain't gonna be a fan of his music.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Music was not Thorogood's only career choice. Baseball was a big passion and Thorogood did well enough to play for a minor league team. Apparently in the 70s he played second base on a team in Delaware's Roberto Clemente League. A 2011 article on Thorogood mentioned that he even receive a Rookie of the Year honor. A different article mentioned that he played for the Delaware Destroyers (the team does exist), which is odd because when Thorogood initially founded his band, he named them the Delaware Destroyers before later shortening it to just the Destroyers. There is little to confirm that Thorogood had an actual baseball career, but by most accounts he did play some kind of semi-pro ball in Delaware before making it big in music.  2) This is a remake of a song originally written and recorded by Johnny Otis in 1958. Otis' single was a significant hit reaching #9 Pop and #5 R&B. Many other artists have covered the tune, but besides Thorogood, the only other performer to get the song on the Pop chart was Eric Clapton, who reached #26 in 1974 with his version.


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