If GEORGE THOROGOOD had his way, the long overlooked journeymen of blues and rock would share more of the spotlight with both its acknowledged legends and today's reigning chart toppers. In fact, The George Thorogood & The Destroyers Anthology on Capitol Records is all about his ceaseless quest to reflect some much-deserved glory upon the musicians whose work has meant so much to him, yet whose contributions to pop music culture in general have gone largely unnoticed. Thorogood has always felt indebted to the musical pioneers whose hard lives and brilliant creativity fueled the enormous profits that have sustained the music business for decades. Anthology, a comprehensive two-disc set reflecting work from all three of the labels for which he's recorded, is his way of saying thanks.
Old and new fans alike will instantly recognize the signature George Thorogood & The Destroyers sound reverberating through each of the 30 tracks on Anthology. The CD features live and studio renditions of his best-known song, and each evokes one of Thorogood's musical heroes. The best of original material, for that matter, reflects his admiration for the progenitors of the music he so admires. "Bad to the Bone," "Move It On Over," "If You Don't Start Drinkin' (I'm Gonna Leave)," and "Willie & the Hand Jive" share the stage with live recordings of "Who Do You Love," "Let's Work Together," "Johnny B. Goode," "Reelin' and Rockin'," "Bottom of the Sea," and "Night Time." There's even a previously unreleased version of Hound Dog Taylor's gem "Christine."
Interviewers have often asked Thorogood about the exhilaration of touring with the Rolling Stones, J. Geils' Band, The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, Steve Miller, and countless other luminaries. Though he admits he's learned a lot from those experiences, his greatest thrills have come sharing the same stages with idols such as Hound Dog Taylor, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker. His opportunity to join forces with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Albert Collins during 1985's historic LIVE AID concert was, he points out, "about as good as it gets." George Thorogood & The Destroyers live to play live, so it's not surprising they have remained one of the road's most popular acts since they began gigging back home in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1973.
If anything surprises Thorogood, it's that he's been around long enough to have become the subject of an anthology album. "When the Destroyers started out," he said, "we were happy just to be playing. We had no idea that we'd still be around 20-something years later and have 15 or so records under our belts. The coolest thing about all of this is that it's as much fun now as it's ever been."