Hootie & the Blowfish songs are catchy, with a deep soulfulness in their vocals and lyrics.
It’s no wonder they were one of the biggest bands to come out of the 90s. But they weren’t exactly an overnight hit when they seemingly first appeared in the middle of that decade.
We found out how they got their start and what made them an international hit band.
Let’s take a look!
About Hootie & the Blowfish
Hootie & the Blowfish formed in the late 1980s when the quartet met while attending the University of South Carolina.
The band consisted of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Darius Rucker, guitarist Mark Bryan, bassist Dean Felber, and drummer Jim Sonefeld.
They began playing frat parties and local gigs at clubs around Columbia, South Carolina. By the time they graduated, they had solidified as a band and felt ready to branch out. They began gaining fans across the east coast, eventually landing a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
They released their debut album Cracked Rear View in 1994, six months before appearing on David Letterman’s Late Show. The guest spot on the show did more for the band’s popularity than the hit singles released from the album.
When Letterman stated, “If you don’t have this album, there’s something wrong with you,” sales more than tripled for Cracked Rear View. To this day, it’s their best-selling studio release and the 19th best-selling album in the United States.
In 1995, Hootie & the Blowfish won two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for Let Her Cry.
They released four more studio albums over the next ten years. However, only their second and third records were considered successful. They toured heavily nationwide and were regulars on the music festival circuit during this same time.
Taking a Break
In 2008, after 22 years together, the band announced they were taking a hiatus. Unlike many other bands that “take breaks,” it had nothing to do with infighting or band member deaths. Instead, Darius Rucker decided to follow pursuits in country music and devote some time to recording solo albums.
Rucker released five country albums, all of which did exceptionally well. All but one reached the top spot on the Billboard Country Album chart. Jim Sonefeld and Mark Bryan also released solo albums during the hiatus.
In December 2018, the band appeared on the Today Show to announce a return to touring and an upcoming studio album release. The following year, they performed at sold-out shows across the US and made stops in the UK and Ireland.
The four members of Hootie & the Blowfish obviously enjoy playing music with each other. It seems the hiatus and following individual pursuits helped reinvigorate their desire to continue performing together.
Now, let’s take a look at seven of Hootie & the Blowfish’s greatest songs.
#7 I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You
About the Song: This song, written initially by songwriter Tom Waits in 1973, has been covered by numerous musicians. The Hootie & the Blowfish cover of this song is a beautiful rendition. Darius Rucker’s vocals give this somewhat heartbreaking song a gentle sweetness.
I can see that you are lonesome just like me, And it being late, You'd like some company. Well I turn around to look at you, and you look back at me, The guy you're with has up and split the chair next to you's free.
First Appearance: Besides Tom Waits’ original 1973 version, you can find this song on Hootie & the Blowfish’s 2000 album Scattered, Smothered, and Covered.
#6 Old Man & Me
About the Song: The lyrics to this tune were inspired by a brief encounter Rucker had with a homeless man. While the conversation described in the song never happened, the story could be true for someone living on the streets.
Seen a million faces, seen a million places die. and I wonder who will walk with me when I get to Heaven.
First Appearance: Old Man & Me appeared on the band’s independently released EP Kootchypop in 1993. Later, they re-recorded it for their second studio album Fairweather Johnson, released in 1996.
#5 I Go Blind
About the Song: The Canadian band 54-40 originally wrote this song in 1986. Hootie & the Blowfish released their version ten years later, which became a popular radio hit. You can also hear their cover of I Go Blind on the soundtrack for the TV series Friends.
Every time I look at you, I go blind. I don't know what it is. Something in me just won't give me a chance. I think it's that I feel more confused By the deal love has shown me.
First Appearance: The song was initially released in Canada in 1986 by 54-40, and the Hootie & the Blowfish version came out in 1996.
About the Song: Released as a single in 1995 from their debut album, Time became an international hit.
Feeling time working against you isn’t an uncommon experience, especially at those times in life when you may feel like nothing is going right. The lyrics of this song may help those going through difficult times understand they’re not alone in these feelings.
Time is wasting time is walking You ain't no friend of mine I don't know where I'm goin' I think I'm out of my mind Thinking about time
First Appearance: Time is a track on the band’s 1994 debut album Cracked Rear View.
#3 Hold My Hand
About the Song: This song is a wonderful expression of supporting a friend going through a rough spot in life. The upbeat nature of the music and singalong chorus in this tune helped make it a popular radio hit. The studio version includes backing vocals by singer David Crosby.
Yesterday, I saw you standing there Your head was down, your eyes were red No comb had touched your hair I said get up, and let me see you smile
First Appearance: This was their debut single released in 1994. It appears on their first album Cracked Rear View.
#2 Let Her Cry
About the Song: The Black Crowes song She Talks to Angels partially inspired Darius Rucker to write the lyrics for Let Her Cry. The same day, he also listened to an album by singer Bonnie Raitt. In a 2008 radio interview, Rucker explained that the song was created “in one stream of consciousness.”
The song won the band a Grammy Award in 1995 for Best Pop Performance by a Group.
She never lets me in, only tells me where she's been When she's had too much to drink I say that I don't care, I just run my hands through her dark hair Then I pray to God you gotta help me fly away
First Appearance: Following their hit single Hold My Hand, Hootie & the Blowfish released this song in 1994.
#1 Only Wanna Be With You
About the Song: There’s a reason this song is in the #1 spot on this list. It’s by far their greatest-known song and one that gave them top spots on international music charts.
But it wasn’t without controversy. There are a few references to Bob Dylan songs, including Tangled Up in Blue. Dylan’s management knew about the inclusion in the lyrics. However, when the song became a hit, problems arose. While the band was never sued, they eventually paid $350,000 to retain goodwill between the artists.
You look at me, you've got nothing left to say I moan and pout at you until I get my way I won't dance, you won't sing I just wanna love you but you wanna wear my ring
First Appearance: This song was another hit single released from their 1994 debut album Cracked Rear View.
Which Hootie & the Blowfish Song is Your Favorite?
While this list gives you seven of the greatest Hootie & the Blowfish songs, there are many others we could mention. Their songs are often upbeat, with thoughtful lyrics. This combination, along with soulful vocals, proves to be the key to their international success. Let us know how we did. Would you change out any songs?