By Ed Symkus More Content Now

It doesn’t matter that George Thorogood and the Destroyers have never cracked the Top 10.

Their rock-blues-boogie is instantly recognizable, whether the first sound you hear is the purposely distorted buzz of Thorogood’s big Gibson guitar or the nasty, raspy growl of his voice.

Even without hit status, a handful of the band’s songs — “Bad to the Bone;” “Move It on Over;” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” — get regular play on classic rock radio. Thorogood and his longtime Destroyers lineup of Jeff Simon (drums), Bill Blough (bass), Jim Suhler (lead guitar), and Buddy Leach (sax) are in the middle of yet another summer-long cross-country tour.

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Courtesy Shore News Today

In 1973, a barely-out-of-his-teens Wilmington guitarist piled his gear into a fellow musician’s Chevy van, and they drove off to play their very first gig at a University of Delaware dorm. More than four decades and 8,000 live shows later, that same guitar slinger is still considered one of the most bad-to-the-bone performers in rock.

It’s 2016, and George Thorogood & The Destroyers are badder than ever.

For Thorogood and his longtime band – Jeff Simon on drums and percussion, Bill Blough on bass guitar, Jim Suhler on rhythm guitar and Buddy Leach on saxophone – their new Badder Than Ever Tour is proof that staying true to yourself and your music can still mean something, according to his official biography.

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53a200c9d6b33.imageBY DAVID SPATZ

Because he grew up entrenched in the music of great blues artists, George Thorogood naively thought everybody was familiar with the uniquely all-American genre.

So it was something of a jarring wakeup call for the singer, songwriter and guitarist when his first band, The Delaware Destroyers — later simply the Destroyers — began looking to spread their wings and gain some nightclub experience. One of the first places they set their sights on was the Jersey Shore bar scene.

Thorogood knew that shore bars proved to be good training grounds for bands who took music seriously and weren’t just a bunch of college kids with marginal musical talent who formed bands and wrangled summer gigs with the express purpose of meeting girls.

“We went and asked the clubs for gigs, we just didn’t get any,” Thorogood says and he looks back across a career that spans over 40 years. “We asked everybody. Gigs were hard to find for us. We were just a three-piece band playing boogie blues.”

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Courtesy Centre Daily Times

Legendary rocker George Thorogood will return to Happy Valley on July 26 to play to a sold-out crowd at The State Theatre. Thorogood will bring along his longtime backing band, The Destroyers.

The slick slide guitarist discovered music early.

“I heard (music) on the radio just like everyone else,” Thorogood said. “I couldn’t sing like Roger Daltrey or Robert Plant. And, I certainly knew I wasn’t going to write ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ or ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’ I knew that wasn’t going to happen.”

Thorogood said he didn’t realize his potential on the six string until he heard it from his friends.

“I had other people come to me — friends of mine, accomplished guitarists — and they heard me fooling around doing John Lee Hooker-type stuff or Robert Johnson-type stuff or Jimmie Reed, and they said, ‘you know, you can really do that,’ ” Thorogood said.