"The first recordings by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, including their
hit, "Move It On Over," were a reinvigorating blast of energy when they hit the FM airwaves in the late
1970's. Cut live in the studio, these 15 tracks, along with a previously unissued
live version of their showpiece "Who Do You Love?," are a testament to the enduring
power of real rock and roll. Here are many of George's greatest interpretations
of songs by his country music and blues heroes, from Elmore James to Hank Williams,
as fresh and soulful today as when they were first recorded!"
On the release of their first record, nobody had heard of George Thorogood & The Delaware
Destroyers, as they insisted upon being called. By the time of their second, a scant year and a half later, their following had grown from cult-status to massive ground-swell to opening for the Rolling Stones on all their U.S. tour dates in 1981. This followed hard-on-the-heels of their own grueling, road-pounding "50 States in 50 Dates," so called because all dates had to be on consecutive days and driven, to boot, the only exceptions being, of course, Alaska and Hawaii.
How could a three-piece "rockin' rhythm 'n' blues quartet," as they often liked to describe themselves, tongue planted firmly in cheek, go from being litte more than street musicians in the Boston area and favorite son bar band in their native Delaware/Philly area, doing benefits for the California Homemakers Association as their first West Coast "tour" to reaching Gold Record status on only their second recorded outing, scarcely two years after that initially obscure debut release?! And, mind you, all this was achieved by an unknown group confronted with a prevailing trend of stadium-rockers that completely dominated the airwaves and major venues, which made their achievement all the more
There are many answers most probably and no one answer most certainly. However, the best place to begin is with the music itself on this disc. Selected specially for this Heritage Series release from the Destroyer' first three records on Rounder, the tunes still evince the "liveness" and emotional power of this close-knit band of blues and early rock 'n' roll fellow travelers dedicated to their own version of "cool," a very old-school yet bohemian and down-home version, based on the bristling and unmediated raw energy of the classics of electric blues and rock 'n' roll...all served up with their own
good-time, "let's-make-our-own" neighborhood party kind of feel.
George Thorogood's indomitable energy, irresistable charisma, youthful good looks and rhythmically powerful Gibson guitar-playing didn't hurt either. He was probably the most perfect musician/frontman/character to lead the charge against monolithic monster rock, just because he cared absolutely nothing for prevailing mainstream trends, preferring only to go his own way and pay tribute to his musical heroes, interpreting them in his own head-on way.
Unquestionably George Thorogood became a musical guiding light for many, and more than that to many people bored with rock radio fo the time and the huge, alienating stadium rock shows. For us at Rounder, it's almost as if we all grew up together.
The Delaware Destroyers, while they had a very focused and clear vision of their musical goals, had no more sense of what the "business of music" was all about than we did at Rounder. Fortunately, we were all relatively quick studies and "made it up as we went along," by the seat of our pants, while maintaining the commitment we all felt to the music itself.
FM-radio, well on its way to the height of its ascendancy as the formidable force of the era, was one of the first bastions to fall before the "onslaught" of the Destroyers' basic and oppositional sound, so antithetical to what people were accustomed to hearing. Then, from the Bay area's leading the charge, city-by-city, the cult grew to larger and larger numbers of fans. Incessant touring, from miniscule clubs to showcase clubs in major markets to the Stones tour to the major, non-stadium venues they still prefer to play today, became the basis of their acclaim.
There could be no more appropriate release in Rounder's Heritage Series than this one. George Thorogood personally and the band as a whole, what they represented musically and culturally, inspired us as a company and opened our eyes to a whole new world. Now, as then, George Thorogood & The Delawere Destroyers' music grabs hold and doesn't let go, timeless and basic. To quote the opening song of this sequence, we "Can't Stop Lovin'" these guys and their music - as fresh and soulful today as it was when it was first recorded!