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Music / Hootie & the Blowfish

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Left-to-right: Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, Jim Sonefeld, and Darius Rucker. Not pictured: The actual people nicknamed "Hootie" and "The Blowfish".

"Well there's nothing I can do
I only wanna be with you
You can call me your fool
I only wanna be with you"

Hootie & the Blowfish is a rock band founded in 1986 by Darius Rucker, Dean Felber, Jim Sonefeld and Mark Bryan. They broke through in 1994 with the album Cracked Rear View, one of the best-selling albums in the history of American music (it sold over 16 million copies). It also produced four big pop hits in "Hold My Hand", "Let Her Cry", "Only Wanna Be with You" and "Time", and won the band the 1996 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Although followup Fairweather Johnson was also a decent enough seller, it produced only one big hit. Following Musical Chairs, the band went on hiatus (with both Bryan and Rucker releasing solo albums), and then came back with Scattered, Smothered and Covered, a compilation which produced no singles. The band left Atlantic Records after a self-titled album in 2003, but came back in 2005 with Looking for Lucky on Vanguard Records.


Darius Rucker began a rather successful Country Music career in 2008, but he continues to tour occasionally with his bandmates, and he performs several Hootie-era songs during his solo concerts. In 2018, after a ten year hiatus, Hootie & The Blowfish announced they had reunited. In 2019, they did a tour with Barenaked Ladies and released the album Imperfect Circle.


  • Darius Rucker — lead vocals, guitar
  • Mark Bryan — guitar
  • Dean Felber — bass, backing vocals
  • Jim "Soni" Sonefeld — drums



  • Kootchypop (EP; 1993)
  • Cracked Rear View (1994)
  • Fairweather Johnson (1996)
  • Musical Chairs (1998)
  • Hootie & the Blowfish (2003)
  • Looking for Lucky (2005)
  • Imperfect Circle (2019)

"I wanna trope you the best that/The best that I can":

  • Artist and the Band: A notable subversion, since no one in the band is named Hootie and the band itself is not called The Blowfish. It was named after two college friends who were nicknamed "Hootie" and "The Blowfish."
  • Bald of Authority: Darius.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: The members met while students at the University of South Carolina.
  • Fell Asleep Crying: Darius after his mother's death, as described in "I'm Going Home."
  • Genre Shift: Darius' successful transition to a country music star. In a band-specific example, Imperfect Circle draws heavy influence from Darius's country career, almost bordering on country rock.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The group was Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim Sonefeld from 1989 to 2008 when they went on hiatus. Before then, Brantley Smith was the drummer, replaced by Sonefeld long before the band started recording. As of their reunion in 2018, it's still the same lineup and they've gone on record saying they only reunited because all of them wanted to.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The band was named for two friends; one who had an owlish face nicknamed "Hootie", and another with puffy cheeks nicknamed "the Blowfish". As a result, many people erroneously call Darius Rucker, "Hootie", and the rest of the band, "the Blowfish".
  • Protest Song: "Drowning", in part against the Confederate Flag flying at the SC Statehouse.
  • Record Producer: Their first four albums were produced by Don Gehman; according to Tim Sommer, the A&R rep who signed them to Atlantic, Sommer picked Gehman because he produced John Mellencamp's most successful albums and R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant.
  • Self-Titled Album: Strangely, their last album for Atlantic.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Only Wanna Be with You", to Bob Dylan's "Idiot Wind" and "Tangled Up in Blue" (they were eventually forced to give Dylan co-writing credit for quoting directly from "Idiot Wind"). There is also a line referencing the Miami Dolphins, Rucker's favorite team.
    • "Let Her Cry" references R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and their song "The One I Love".
  • True Companions: Talking about their early days playing Southern bars, many members of the band found themselves unpleasantly surprised at how much racism there still was out there, and often found themselves getting into fights with patrons who were not shy about dropping the N-word around Darius.
    Jim Sonefeld: Wanna see me start swingin'? Use that word around me.
  • Yarling: This is Darius' preferred singing style.

"And if the sun comes up tomorrow
Let her be
Oh, let her be"