Hootie & the Blowfish is an American rock band that enjoyed widespread popularity in the second half of the 1990s. They were originally formed in 1986 at the University of South Carolina by Darius Rucker, Dean Felber, Jim Sonefeld, and Mark Bryan. The band has recorded seven studio albums to date, and has charted sixteen singles on various Billboard singles charts. Their 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, is one of the best selling albums of all time, going platinum sixteen times.
Hootie & the Blowfish formed in 1986. The quartet met when they were freshmen at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. 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; eventually Bryan and Rucker collaborated with Felber, a former high school bandmate of Bryan's, and Jim "Soni" Sonefeld as Hootie & the Blowfish.
Brantley Smith was the original drummer for the band. He left the group to pursue music ministry, but he has made scattered guest appearances with the band (he played cello on their MTV Unplugged performance in 1996 and sat in on drums with the band at Gruene Hall in Gruene, TX, on June 27, 2008).
The group independently released two cassette demo EPs in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, they pressed 50,000 copies of a self-released EP, Kootchypop, which was named after a reference to female genitalia in a stand-up comedy act by What's Happening co-star Shirley Hemphill. Their mainstream debut album was Cracked Rear View (1994). It was an instant success, ultimately going platinum 16 times in the U.S. and becoming the best-selling album of 1995. The album was propelled by four hits, "Hold My Hand" (U.S. #10), "Let Her Cry" (U.S. #9), "Only Wanna Be With You" (U.S. #6), and "Time" (U.S. #14). In 1995, Hootie and the Blowfish and Bob Dylan reached an out-of-court settlement for the group's unauthorized use of Dylan's lyrics in their song "Only Wanna Be With You." Miami Dolphins' Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino appeared in the band's video for the song "Only Wanna Be With You", along with several other athletes.
The band won the "Best New Artist" award at the 1996 Grammy Awards. Hootie & the Blowfish appeared on MTV Unplugged on the eve of the release of their second album, 1996's Fairweather Johnson. Though sales began promisingly, and it contained the hit single "Old Man and Me" (U.S. #13), the album quickly ran out of steam, having sold four million copies in the U.S. Hootie & the Blowfish has since released three more studio albums: Musical Chairs, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Looking for Lucky. They also released a B-sides and rarities compilation in 2000 entitled Scattered, Smothered and Covered. This album is named in tribute of Waffle House, a popular Southern chain of all-night diners. Specifically, the title refers to an order of hash browns covered with diced onions and melted cheese.
In 1995, Hootie & the Blowfish contributed the song "Hey Hey What Can I Do" to the Encomium tribute album to Led Zeppelin. Their cover of Canadian group 54-40's "I Go Blind", originally released on the soundtrack to the TV series Friends in 1995, did not appear on Cracked Rear View or Fairweather Johnson, but nevertheless became a surprise hit at radio in 1997 after three singles from Fairweather Johnson had been released. Both "Hey Hey What Can I Do" and "I Go Blind" were later released on the collection Scattered, Smothered and Covered.
Hootie and the Blowfish started their own record label, Breaking Records, in 1996 as a subsidiary of Atlantic. They had planned to focus on signing local Carolina acts. Edwin McCain and Cravin' Melon were both associated with the label at one point, but did not release any material on it. The Meat Puppets, Jump, Little Children, Treadmill Trackstar and Treehouse released one album each on Breaking Records. The label folded in 2000.
Hootie covered the 1968 Orpheus hit "Can't Find the Time" in 2001 for the soundtrack of the Jim Carrey movie " Me, Myself and Irene". It was a crowd favorite after the movie was released. Orpheus creator and the song's writer Bruce Arnold traded verses with Darius on several occassions when the band played live on the west coast.
The band currently has an extensive touring schedule, including an annual New Year's Eve show at the Silverton Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2008, the band started releasing their concerts as downloads through trueAnthem.
In 2009, Hootie and the Blowfish performed live in a ballet which chronicled their rise and success in the 1990s.
On August 27, 2008, frontman Darius Rucker announced in an AOL Sessions interview that Hootie and the Blowfish would be splitting so Rucker could pursue his solo career as a country music performer. Although the band will no longer be recording or touring, Rucker confirmed they will still perform their scheduled charity concerts stating, "We have four charity jigs every year and we will still do them, but we will not do a record or tour." Rucker also said that the split will last "for five or six years, or until I record three or four country albums". He later amended his statement, saying "To be honest with you, we're not even split up right now, and we're not really thinking about splitting up." Rucker has recorded a solo album, Learn to Live, for Capitol Records. It includes the singles "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", "It Won't Be Like This for Long" and "Alright", all three of which have reached Number One on the U.S. Hot Country Songs charts.
Cracked Rear View 1994
Cracked Rear View is the major-label debut album by Hootie & the Blowfish, released on July 5, 1994. It was the highest-selling album of 1995, with 10.5 million shipments that year alone, eventually shipping 16 million copies to retailers by March 31, 1999. It is currently tied with several other albums, all certified 16× platinum, for the fifteenth best selling album of all time in the United States. The phrase "Cracked Rear View" appears in a 1987 John Hiatt song, "Learning How to Love You" off his Bring the Family album.
1. "Hannah Jane" – 3:33
2. "Hold My Hand" – 4:15
3. "Let Her Cry" – 5:08
4. "Only Wanna Be with You" – 3:46
5. "Running from an Angel" – 3:37
6. "I'm Goin' Home" – 4:11
7. "Drowning" – 5:01
8. "Time" – 4:53
9. "Look Away" – 2:38
10. "Not Even the Trees" – 4:37
11. "Goodbye" – 4:05
Includes hidden track "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"(Traditional) (0:54)