Tuesday (November 27) marks 70 years since the birth of Jimi Hendrix, the man who changed electric guitar and rock and roll forever. Every guitarist who has followed has felt his influence in some way. Oftentimes, that influence is apparent in the complexities of a musician’s guitar playing.
But not always: George Thorogood prides himself on his simple, even primal, style of guitar. But he told CBS Local that he was interested in Hendrix early on, noting that he seemed to combine two of his favorite artists of the time: “I was very fascinated with Bo Diddley when he came out. I thought Hendrix was like Bo Diddley playing Bob Dylan material.”
It turns out that Hendrix wasn’t so much an influence on Thorogood’s playing (which was profoundly influenced by Diddley’s style)… but Hendrix made a huge impact on young George’s life. “I got to see Hendrix play live, I saw him play (his cover of Dylan’s) ‘Like A Rolling Stone.’ After I saw that, I had to go to school the next day. It didn’t work for me anymore, I was done with that. I couldn’t go pledge alliegence to the flag and do 40 pushups. I couldn’t take school seriously after what I saw the night before. It was a big influence on me.”
And the rest, as they say, is history: Thorogood went on to form his backing band The Delaware Destroyers, and would bring the music of some of his (and Hendrix’s) influences to a much wider audience, via his versions of Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?,” John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place To Go.” Like Hendrix, Thorogood did both covers and wrote his own material: some of George’s original classics, of course, include “Bad To The Bone” and “I Drink Alone.”
Catch George Thorogood & The Destroyers on the road in 2013, starting in February.
— Brian Ives, CBS Local