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Darius Rucker’s Second First Time on Radio Was Just as Exciting as His First One

Darius Rucker if i told you video
Erika Goldring, Getty Images

Darius Rucker has earned himself a successful career in two genres of music: rock and country. As the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker recorded seven studio albums and charted 16 singles on various Billboard charts; the band’s 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Rucker’s stint in country music, meanwhile, began in 2008, when he signed with Capitol Records Nashville; he earned his very first country hit with “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” which landed at No. 1.

Below, Rucker remembers both of his first times on the radio — back in 1994 with Hootie & the Blowfish, and in 2008 as a solo country act.

The first time I heard a Hootie song, Dean Felber — our bass player for Hootie — and I were driving in his car, and “Hold My Hand” came on the radio — first time we had heard it on the radio. We were in Columbia, S.C.; it came on the radio, and we were listening to it, and about halfway through the song, he reached over and he turned it [up], and we just started giggling.

That was in early 1994. My heart raced. For me, it was a moment where I thought, “Wow! This is radio … not just some college radio, we’re on pop radio!” We had been playing for nine years! I thought, “This might really be starting to happen.” I thought we might be played on the radio; I didn’t think we’d get played on the radio like we eventually did.

That was a great day! You never forget the first time you hear your first song on the radio … that’s hard to forget.

The first time I heard my first country song, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” I was in Charleston, S.C., in my car, driving to the golf course by myself. We were just starting to service the song on the radio stations. It was one of those things: They weren’t playing it, “Here’s a new song by Darius Rucker;” it was one of those introductions, “Here’s a new song by Darius Rucker; let’s see what it sounds like.” [Laughs]

It comes on, and I’ll just never forget how great “Don’t Think” sounded on the radio! The first time I heard it on the radio, I was thinking, “Man, the production on that song … that song is made for the radio.” I felt like, “Here we go!”

It felt great, because I was listening to the radio, and I felt like it sounded like it was supposed to be right there. Here I am, the pop guy coming over and trying to tell everybody how much I love country, and I want to make a country record. Here, I’m listening to the radio where Toby Keith is playing and Brad Paisley is playing, and my song comes on, and it sounds like it’s supposed to be right there. I felt like, “Wow, that’s awesome!”

To say I was filled with pride is an understatement. I was happy because I feel like we picked the right single. It sounded great, and it sounded like it should be on country radio.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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