Destination Jam: Top 5 Darius Rucker songs to celebrate the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman's biggest hits

Rucker and his ex-wife Beth Leonard had met in 2000, while Leonard was working with VH1 and Rucker was still embracing the dizzying heights of his celebrity fame


                            Destination Jam: Top 5 Darius Rucker songs to celebrate the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman's biggest hits
Darius Rucker (Getty Images)

Hello there, music lovers! It came as a surprise to many that Darius Rucker, the country music icon and frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish, had recently announced an amicable split with his wife of 20 years, Beth Leonard. The couple had met in 2000, while Leonard was working with VH1 and Rucker was still embracing the dizzying heights of his celebrity fame with the multi-platinum selling act Hootie and the Blowfish.

The phrase that the couple used on social media, "conscious uncoupling" was a throwback to another high-profile 2014 split when Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and his actress wife Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that they were parting ways on friendly terms. Considering Rucker had even penned lyrics about his relationship with Leonard in the popular 2009 track 'Alright', we figured it was a perfect opportunity to look back at some of his biggest hits, including some classics from Hootie and the Blowfish's chart-busting reign during the late '90s. This DJ list also a tribute to Rucker's glorious trademark baritone which can be both soaring and emotive in equal measure.

'Wagon Wheel'



 

With over 246 million views on YouTube, this track is unquestionably Rucker's biggest solo hit, although it was first written by Bob Dylan and Old Crow Medicine Show. Dylan had originally recorded the chorus back in 1973 and Old Crow Medicine Show added verses later on to the song which was certified platinum in 2013. Rucker recorded his new spin on 'Wagon Wheel' with backing vocals provided by the country superstars Lady A (who were known as Lady Antebellum back then). After performing the song at the Grand Ole Opry in 2012 with Old Crow Medicine Show themselves, Rucker then later released as the second single from his third solo album, 'True Believers', which dropped via Capitol Records in May 2013. The song went on to become a smash hit with fans, going on to peak at No.15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified eight times platinum in 2020.  

'Alright'



 

This song was actually written about the then-happily married Rucker's relationship with his wife Leonard back in 2006. It was co-written with producer Frank Rodgers and released as the third single from Rucker's debut country music album 'Learn to Live' in April 2009. The songwriting duo had previously written the song 'All I Want' about a divorced man wanting to be along, so this song inverted that theme by talking a narrator who is enjoying his marriage. Speaking about the lyrics of the song, Rucker revealed that it was about the pleasures of living with the woman he married back in 2000 — "Cause I've got a roof over my head / The woman I love laying in my bed / And it's alright, alright." The song went on to peak at No.1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, making it Rucker's third consecutive No.1 single on the country charts.

'Only Want To Be With You'



 

One of Hootie and the Blowfish's signature hits, this song was released as the third single from their classic breakthrough album, 'Cracked Rear View', in 1995. However, this song was actually written and recorded as far back as 1992 and subsequently released by Hootie and the Blowfish on their independently released EP 'Kootchypop' in 1993. The song went on to peak at No.1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart and claimed the No.6 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This hit song is also infamous for its Bob Dylan homages, such as the line "Put on a little Dylan", references to 'Tangled Up in Blue', as well as quotes from the song 'Idiot Wind'. However, Dylan's management later objected when the song became a huge hit, leading to Dylan receiving a hefty out-of-court financial settlement thanks to the burgeoning popularity of this song.

'Let Her Cry'



 

This is another of Hootie and the Blowfish's biggest hits, first released in 1994 as the second single from their debut album, 'Cracked Rear View'. The song went on to become a Top 10 hit in the US, Canada and Australia, eventually peaking at No. 2 on the US Billboard Pop Songs chart. Regarding the song's origins, Rucker revealed that he had penned the lyrics as a stream of consciousness delivery while listening to a Bonnie Raitt record, drawing inspiration from the song 'She Talks to Angels' by The Black Crowes which he had just been listening to for the first time. 'Let Her Cry' later won the Grammy award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1996 and the official music video has over 75 million views on YouTube alone. 

'Hold My Hand'



 

Let's wrap up this Rucker celebration with another gorgeous Hootie and the Blowfish classic. This song was actually written by the quartet back in 1989 but was later released as a mainstream release in July 1994. 'Hold My Hand' later became the group's debut single from their multi-platinum selling album, 'Cracked Rear View', and went on to peak at No.10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is also notable for its backing vocals which were provided by David Crosby, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame. Both fans and critics were quick to pick up on the rising popularity of this hot new band with one music critic praising the song for its "singalong chorus that epitomizes the band's good-times vibes." The band never looked back after the barnstorming success of their first album and went on to rule the late '90s with a heavy rotation of their hits being featured on MTV and numerous other music channels.

Destination Jam is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained and grooving up top in lieu of feeling drained and losing the plot. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!

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