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Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker in 2004 at Yokota Air Base, Japan
Background information
Born May 13, 1966 (1966-05-13) (age 43)
Origin Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Genres Rock, R&B, Country
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Rhythm guitar
Years active 1986 – Present
Labels Atlantic, Hidden Beach, Capitol Nashville
Associated acts Hootie & the Blowfish, Frank Rogers

Darius Rucker (born May 13, 1966) is an American musician. He first gained fame as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, of which he has been a member since the band's foundation in 1986. In 2008, Rucker began a solo career in country music as well.

Rucker has recorded two solo albums: Back to Then in 2002 on Hidden Beach Recordings, followed by Learn to Live in 2008 on Capitol Records Nashville. Its first three singles—"Don't Think I Don't Think About It", "It Won't Be Like This for Long" and "Alright"—have all reached Number One on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. The album itself has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.


Early life

Rucker was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and his family history there goes back generations.[1] His single mother Carolyn,[2] who was a nurse, raised him with his five siblings: three sisters and two brothers. According to Rucker, his father was "never around" and Rucker only saw him before church on Sundays; his father was in a gospel band called The Rolling Stones.[3] Rucker has said that he had a "typical Southern, African-American upbringing." His family attended church every Sunday, were economically poor and, at one point, his mom, her two sisters, his grandmother and 14 children were all living in a three-bedroom home. However, he says that he looks back on his childhood "with very fond memories."[1] His sister, L'Corine, recalled that singing "was always his dream."[1] For a brief period he wanted to be a professional hockey player, as he was an avid ice skater, something that most people wouldn't guess about a man from the South.

Career with Hootie and the Blowfish

Rucker has been the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish since its formation in 1986. He met fellow band members, Mark Bryan, Jim "Soni" Sonefeld, and Dean Felber, while attending the University of South Carolina. Bryan heard Rucker singing in the shower, and the two became a duo, playing R.E.M. covers at a local hangout called Hooters.[4] They eventually recruited Felber. Sonefield finally joined in 1989.[4] As a member of Hootie & the Blowfish, he has recorded five studio albums: Cracked Rear View, Fairweather Johnson, Musical Chairs, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Looking for Lucky. All five albums feature songs that Rucker, Bryan and Felber wrote. As the frontman, Rucker began to be called simply "Hootie" in the media, though the band title combines the nicknames of his college friends.[2][5]

Rucker's signature contribution to the band is his baritone voice that Rolling Stone called "ingratiating,"[6] TIME called it "low, gruff, [and] charismatic,"[3] and Entertainment Weekly characterized it as a "barrelhouse growl."[7] He brought additional attention as the sole African-American member of a rock band with otherwise white members. Rucker said they "flipped" the formula of the all black band with a white frontman, like Frank Sinatra performing with Count Basie.[5] Musically, he was sometimes criticized or spoofed for not being "black enough".[4] Saturday Night Live ran a sketch of Rucker leading beer-drinking, white, frat boys in a counter-march to Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March.[3][8] He also received death threats for singing the Hootie song "Drowning," a protest song against the flying of the Confederate flag above the South Carolina statehouse.[3] The other band members were protective of Rucker in regards to the issue, and had a policy of generally ignoring racists and their comments.[4]

Shortly after gaining a measure of fame, Felber and Rucker (who consider themselves best friends) moved into an apartment in Columbia, South Carolina.[4]

With Rucker's recognizability as the frontman of a successful band came increased opportunities. In October 1995, Rucker was asked to sing the national anthem at the World Series.[8] Frank Sinatra invited Rucker to sing at his 80th birthday party; Rucker sang "The Lady is a Tramp."[9] That same week, he made a voice cameo in an episode of the sitcom Friends.[8] He also joined Nanci Griffith on the song "Gulf Coast Highway" from her 1997 album Blue Roses from the Moons.[10]

Rucker encouraged Atlantic Records to agree to a deal with Edwin McCain, and made a guest appearance on McCain's debut album, Honor Among Thieves (album).[11]

Solo career


R&B career

Rucker in a Burger King commercial for the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich.

In 2001, he made his solo R&B debut album, The Return of Mongo Slade, for Atlantic Records. Because of contractual changes, it was never released by the label.[12] Hidden Beach Recordings, an independent label, acquired the masters from Atlantic and released the album as Back to Then in July 2002.[12] The album included work from the production team of Jill Scott (A Touch of Jazz) and she made an appearance on the track "Hold On."[13]

Rucker appeared on a pop-star edition of the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in July 2001.[14]

He also portrayed a singing cowboy in a television commercial for the fast food chain Burger King, promoting their TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich in 2005. In the commercial, he sang a jingle set to the tune of "Big Rock Candy Mountain."[15]

Country music

In early 2008, Rucker signed to Capitol Records Nashville as the beginning of a career in country music. His first solo single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" (which he co-wrote with Clay Mills) debuted at #51 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts for the week of May 3, 2008. It is the first single from his second album, Learn to Live, which was produced by Frank Rogers.[16] Rucker also made his Grand Ole Opry debut in July 2008.[17] "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" reached Top 20 on the country charts in July 2008, making him the first African-American singer to reach Top 20 on the country charts since Charley Pride in 1988.[18] The single reached number one in September,[19] making Rucker the first solo, African-American artist to chart a number one country hit since Pride's "Night Games" in 1983.[20]

Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, sings to a crowd during an Operation Pacific Greetings tour concert

Learn to Live was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 6, 2009, and received a platinum certification on August 7, 2009.[21] Its lead single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", gave Rucker his first chart-topping country hit and was certified gold. The album's next single, "It Won't Be Like This for Long", spent three weeks at the top of the country charts in mid 2009. Its follow-up, "Alright", became Rucker's third straight number one hit, making him the first country music singer to have his or her first three singles reach number one since Wynonna achieved that feat in 1992.[22] The album's fourth single, "History in the Making" was released in September.

You see a lot of people doing a one-off, saying, 'This is my country record.' But this is a career I'm trying to build. The people that say that they don't get it, I'll let the music speak for itself. I plan to do a lot of country records.[23]

Rucker, Billboard, 2008

Rucker's entry into the country world was met with some intrigue, largely because of his history as a rock musician and because he is an African American. Billboard magazine said that "there's a sense of purpose that makes Rucker feel like a member of the country family, rather than calculating interloper."[24] Rucker made visits to various country stations around the US, explaining that he was aware that he was the "new kid on the block."[25] Mike Culotta, the program director of the Tampa, Florida radio station WQYK-FM expected that Rucker would be "somebody who would have entitlement," but instead said that "Darius engaged everybody."[26] When Rucker found that "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" went to number one, he cried.[27] On November 11, 2009, Rucker won the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award (formerly known as the Horizon Award), making him the first African American to do so (since the award was introduced in 1981). [28] Only one other African American has won at the CMA; Charley Pride, who won entertainer of the year in 1971 and male vocalist in 1971-72.

Personal life

Rucker is a Miami Dolphins fan, and has a tattoo of their logo.[29] He also likes the film Stir Crazy, which he has seen more than 100 times.[4]

Rucker's mother died in November 1992 of a sudden heart attack,[2] and he took her death hard.[4] His grief inspired two Hootie songs: "I'm Goin' Home" and "Not Even the Trees."[3][4] On April 21, 1995, Rucker became a father to a daughter, Carolyn Pearl Phillips. The girl's mother is Rucker's former girlfriend and the subject of "Let Her Cry."[1] Daniella Rose—his second daughter and his first with his wife Beth—was born on May 16, 2001 in Charleston, South Carolina.[30] The song "Where Were You" is about Rucker's strained relationship with his father, and was only released in Europe, where Rucker figured his father would probably never hear it.[3] His country single "Alright" was inspired by his marriage to his wife, Beth.[31]

Rucker is close friends with golfer Tiger Woods, whom he met in a bar when Woods was 18. Rucker sang at the golfer's wedding and at his father's funeral.[32]


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions[19] Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Country US US R&B US Heat CAN Country
2002 Back to Then 127 43 1
2008 Learn to Live 1 5 10
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions[19][34] RIAA[35] Album
US Country US CAN Country CAN
2008 "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" 1 35 3 47 Gold Learn to Live
"It Won't Be Like This for Long" 1 36 1 59 Gold
2009 "Alright" 1 30 2 61 Gold
"History in the Making" 3 61 3 73
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country US AC CAN Country CAN AC
2009 "Winter Wonderland" 49 Country for Christmas
"Candy Cane Christmas" 32 16 36 13 single only
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video Director
2002 "Exodus" Mark Engal
2008 "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" Wayne Isham
"Winter Wonderland"
2009 "It Won't Be Like This for Long"
"History in the Making" Shane Drake


  1. ^ a b c d Puterbaugh, Parke (June 15, 1995), "Fish out of water". Rolling Stone. (710):74
  2. ^ a b c Gray, Kevin; Dampier, Cindy (April 10, 1995), "Fish out of water". People. 43 (14):77
  3. ^ a b c d e f Farley, Christopher Joh; Thigpen, David E.. (April 29, 1996), "Can 13 million Hootie fans really be wrong?" Time, Vol. 147 Issue 18, p74
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Kennedy, Dana; Estrine, Darryl (July 28, 1995), "Hootie's revenge". Entertainment Weekly (285):32
  5. ^ a b Cohen, Rich (August 10, 1995), "Southern comfort". Rolling Stone (714):42
  6. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony; Wild, David (May 13, 1999), "Rock + roll". Rolling Stone (812):60
  7. ^ Browne, David (April 26, 96), "`Fairweather' report". Entertainment Weekly (324):55
  8. ^ a b c Baldwin, Kristen (November 3, 1995), "The week". Entertainment Weekly. (299):54
  9. ^ Russell, Lisa; Ramsay, Carolyn (December 4, 1995), "Frankly admiring".. People. 44 (23):85
  10. ^ Stambler, Lyndon (June 2, 1997), "Blue Roses from the Moons". People., 47 (21):32
  11. ^ Mukherjee, Tiarra; Murphy, Maggie (April 19, 1996), "Give a Hootie". Entertainment Weekly. (323):10
  12. ^ a b Wilson, MacKenzie. "Darius Rucker biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  13. ^ Arnold, Chuck (August 12, 2002), "Back to Then (Music recording)". People. 58 (7):45
  14. ^ No byline (July 30, 2001), "Who Knows?". People. 56 (5):54
  15. ^ Duncan, Apryl (2005-03-07). "Yes, That's Hootie Crooning for Burger King". Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  16. ^ Hennessey, Kathleen (2008-05-17). "Hootie's Darius Rucker going country and other doings". The Times Herald-Record. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  17. ^ "Darius Rucker Basking in Country Success". GAC. 2008-07-23.,3034,GAC_26063_5908862_,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  18. ^ C., Matt (2008-08-13). "Rucker Proves That Sometimes, The Best Marketing Is No Marketing At All". The 9513. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  19. ^ a b c Caulfield, Keith. "Metallica Holds At No. 1, Ne-Yo Arrives In Second ". Billboard. September 24, 2008.
  20. ^ Williams, Sam. "Darius Rucker". Iomusic News. pp. 1. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  21. ^ a b "RIAA - Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2009-09-18. 
  22. ^ Trust, Gary (2009-08-05). "Chart Beat: Darius Rucker, Mariah Carey, Brad Paisley, Wilco". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  23. ^ Tucker, Ken (May 10, 2008), "GENRE-BENDER". Billboard. 120 (19):
  24. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (June 28, 2008), "Don't Think I Don't Think About It". Billboard. 120 (26):
  25. ^ Tucker, Ken (September 27, 2008), "New Kid On The Block". Billboard. 120 (39):
  26. ^ No byline (September 23, 2008), "Hootie's Rucker tops country chart". USA Today.
  27. ^ Greene, Andy (September 30, 2008), "Hootie and the Blowfish Singer Leads Country-Crossover Pack". Rolling Stone. (1064)
  28. ^ "CMT: CMA Awards 2009". 
  29. ^ Rucker, Darius (March 23, 1995), "Raves". Rolling Stone. (704):40
  30. ^ Byrd, Veronica (June 4, 2001), "Passages". People. 55 (22):107
  31. ^ Conaway, Alanna (2009-09-07). ""Opposite" Song Delivers Smash". Country Weekly 16 (30): 21. 
  32. ^ Dyball, Rennie (September 8, 2008), "CATCHING UP WITH... DARIUS RUCKER". People. 70 (10):56
  33. ^
  34. ^ Grein, Paul. "Rucker Crosses Country Music's Color Line". Yahoo! Music. September 24, 2008.
  35. ^ RIAA. "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - Darius Rucker singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2010-01-22. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Darius Rucker (born 1966-05-13 in Charleston, South Carolina) is an American musician. He is best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish.


  • Tupac is taking the message to black kids and a lot of white kids, going "This shit's happening on the streets." Well, I'm from a different part of the black community. Why is Orleans Woods in Charleston, South Carolina, less "valid" than Compton?
    • Quoted in Chris Willman, "Hootie ya love?". Entertainment Weekly (325):18 {1996-05-03)
  • I like puttin' on a little Dylan, and then sittin' on your face. It gets me hard and large, give me the thrill of chase"
    • Rucker, describing his penchant for face-sitting and oral.

About Darius Rucker

  • Rucker sings of loss and despair as if they've left him shell-shocked. But Hootie -- born at frat parties and still a bar band at heart -- know how to deliver beers-and-tears material, and the occasional anti-racist slam, with a smile. The same sly grin crept into songs of frustration -- country writer Radney Foster's "A Fine Line" and the Who's "I Can't Explain." But Rucker is no more Charley Pride than Bryan is Pete Townshend.
    • Jason Cohen and Diana Darzin, "Performance," Rolling Stone (705):36 (1995-04-06)

External links

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