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Darius Rucker and Hootie & the Blowfish

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Darius Rucker
Darius Rucker

"With the rich, bluesy vocals of Darius Rucker and gleeful harmonies of guitarist Mark Bryan, bassist Dean Felber and drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, Hootie & the Blowfish sold over 25 million records worldwide after their infectious melodies hit the airwaves in 1994 with hits such as “Hold My Hand”, “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”

One of the biggest misconceptions to most people is that Hootie & The Blowfish became an overnight success in 1994 when their debut album Cracked Rear View, moved over 16 million copies (and counting) in the U. S. alone. What most people don’t know was that the album’s triumph came after a decade of hard work.

The quartet met while attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the late 1980s. New freshman Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in the showers of the dorm they shared and was impressed by his vocal ability. Bryan and Rucker began playing cover tunes as The Wolf Brothers and eventually hooked up with Dean Felber, a former high school bandmate of Bryan’s, and Brantley Smith as Hootie & The Blowfish. (The unlikely moniker was borrowed from the nicknames of two college friends.) When Smith’s true passion called him home to Greenville, SC in 1989, Bryan reached out to classmate Jim (Soni) Sonefeld to join the band and the immediate chemistry was undeniable!

By the time they graduated, endless gigs at frat parties and local bars had built a major local buzz. “We’d started adding original material to our repertoire,” Bryan recalled. “Our songs went over well, so we decided to see if we could make a career out of it. Even if we hadn’t had a hit, I know we’d still be making music today, because it’s exactly what we want to be doing.”..from their website:

Video from Cal Vid

"Jan 2, 2020

Hootie & the Blowfish was live with Only Wanna Be With You and Get Down On It (2:30) at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The band performed other hits "Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry," and "Time." The group then surprised everyone by playing the song "Hold On" off Imperfect Circle, their first new album in 14 years. However, what really surprised the audience was how Darius Rucker and the guys ended the set. It seemed like "Only Wanna Be With You" was their closer, but after the song ended, the band broke out a cover of Kool and the Gang's "Get Down On It." (Source: Music News)" from video introduction

Who is Hootie?

“We called the band’s publicist at Atlantic Records to find out,” the column continued. “He told us the band’s name goes back to their college days at the University of South Carolina. Lead singer Darius Rucker was inspired by the nicknames of two college buddies: One wore huge, round glasses that made him look like an owl; the other had big, puffy cheeks that made him look like a blowfish (a tiny fish that swallows air and water to puff itself up). One night these two guys walked into a campus party where the band was playing. Rucker saw them and yelled, ‘Look, Hootie and the Blowfish.'”..from the article: Behind the Band Name: Hootie & the Blowfish

Darius Rucker: I'm Not Hootie

Video from CNN

"Darius Rucker discusses the early days of Hootie & the Blowfish and how "Hee Haw" sparked his love for country music." from video introduction

The Black Crowes & Darius Rucker Perform “Let Her Cry”

Video from CMT Crossroads

"The Robinson brothers originally formed the Black Crowes in Georgia in 1984. By the time the group released their first album with 1990's Shake Your Money Maker, the lineup comprised vocalist Chris Robinson, guitarist Rich Robinson, bassist Johnny Colt, guitarist Jeff Cease, and drummer Steve Gorman. "Jealous Again," the first single from Shake Your Money Maker, was a moderate hit, but it was the band's cover of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" that made the Black Crowes a multi-platinum success. "Hard to Handle" climbed its way into the Top 40, propelling the album into the Top Ten along the way. The acoustic ballad "She Talks to Angels" became the band's second Top 40 hit in the spring of 1991, and Shake Your Money Maker eventually sold over three million copies..." from the article: The Black Crowes Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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