Hootie & The Blowfish

Profile:
With the rich, bluesy vocals of Darius Rucker and gleeful harmonies of guitarist Mark Bryan, bassist Dean Felber and drummer Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, Hootie & the Blowfish sold over 25 million records worldwide after their infectious melodies hit the airwaves in 1994 with hits such as “Hold My Hand”, “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”

One of the biggest misconceptions to most people is that Hootie & The Blowfish became an overnight success in 1994 when their debut album Cracked Rear View, moved over 16 million copies (and counting) in the U. S. alone. What most people don’t know was that the album’s triumph came after a decade of hard work.

The quartet met while attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the late 1980s. New freshman Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in the showers of the dorm they shared and was impressed by his vocal ability. Bryan and Rucker began playing cover tunes as The Wolf Brothers and eventually hooked up with Dean Felber, a former high school bandmate of Bryan’s, and Brantley Smith as Hootie & The Blowfish. (The unlikely moniker was borrowed from the nicknames of two college friends.) When Smith’s true passion called him home to Greenville, SC in 1989, Bryan reached out to classmate Jim (Soni) Sonefeld to join the band and the immediate chemistry was undeniable!

By the time they graduated, endless gigs at frat parties and local bars had built a major local buzz. “We’d started adding original material to our repertoire,” Bryan recalled. “Our songs went over well, so we decided to see if we could make a career out of it. Even if we hadn’t had a hit, I know we’d still be making music today, because it’s exactly what we want to be doing.”

The band’s secret weapon, and the force that pulls all of its diverse influences together, is the voice of Darius Rucker, an expressive instrument brimming with gritty soul and subtle wit. When he sings, the songs are imbued with a buoyant good humor and an openhearted joy that connects on an almost spiritual level with audiences all over the world. “Having Darius in the band is a wonderful luxury,” Mark Bryan explained. “We can try something funky, or bluegrassy or a ballad; we can run the gamut stylistically, but never stray too far from our sound because once Darius starts singing, it’s Hootie and the Blowfish.

In the next five years, Hootie & The Blowfish worked their way up the food chain from local draw to gigs all over the Carolinas and finally, the entire East Coast. Their blend of pop, folk, blues, soul and rock made them hard to pigeonhole, but easily accessible to anyone who loved good music. Atlantic Records, impressed by the tens of thousands of Kootchypop copies already sold without the help of a label, signed them and released Cracked Rear View in 1994. The album had been out for six months before the band played on the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman told his audience “If you don’t have this album, there’s something wrong with you.” The day after the show aired, sales went from four or five thousand a week to 17,000 a week, and eventually Number One on the Billboard charts the following spring. It remains a strong seller today. “It became dream-like,” Rucker recalled. “I’d wished for it, but I’m not sure I believed it, even as it was happening. We were on tour constantly; the whole thing is still kind of a blur.”

At the end of the year, Cracked Rear View and the band won two Grammy’s – Best New Artist and Song of the Year by duo or group for “Let Her Cry.” They also took home an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist for “Hold My Hand,” a Billboard Music Award for album of the year, a People’s Choice Award for Album of the Year and a People’s Choice Award for Best Selling Artist, a feat they duplicated in 1996.

Cracked Rear View went on to earn the band Billboard’s Band of the Year Award in 1996 and the RIAA’s Diamond Award for sales of 10 million units. Cracked Rear View remains the 9th best selling album in music business history, and all albums combined, have moved over 25 million worldwide.

The band kept touring, remaining a top draw nationwide and released five more albums for Atlantic: Fairweather Johnson, Musical Chairs, Scattered, Smothered & Covered, Hootie & The Blowfish and The Best of Hootie & The Blowfish. The band left Atlantic by mutual agreement in 2004; Looking For Lucky released in 2005 was their first album on their own Sneaky Long Records, manufactured and distributed by Vanguard. LIVE in Charleston, The Homegrown Concert Event DVD and CD was released in August of 2006.

Hootie & the Blowfish wrapped a summer of touring in 2008 and members entered the studio to record solo albums. Since then, Soni has released 4 albums including a trilogy called Found (2012), In (2014) and Love (2015). Mark has released 3 albums with his most recent release, Songs of the Fortnight in Summer 2017 and Darius released his fifth country album, When Was The Last Time in Fall 2017.

In December of 2018, the band appeared on the Today Show to announce a return to full-time touring along with news of a forthcoming album. The 2019 Group Therapy Tour saw the band play to sold-out crowds across the U.S. and Canada, including two nights at the iconic Madison Square Garden, as well as a run of shows throughout the U.K. and Ireland. The triumphant return to the road earned Hootie & the Blowfish several prominent profiles recognizing their important musical legacy, including the cover story of the New York Times Arts & Leisure section. On November 1, 2019, they released their first new music in nearly 15 years with Imperfect Circle, named one of the “biggest albums to hear this season” by Entertainment Weekly and featuring radio single “Hold On.”
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Albums

82613-4 Hootie & The Blowfish - Cracked Rear View album art Hootie & The Blowfish Cracked Rear View (Album) Atlantic 82613-4 US 1994 Sell This Version
TCD 1057 Hootie & The Blowfish - In Concert - 655 album art Hootie & The Blowfish In Concert - 655(CD, Transcription) BBC World Service, BBC Radio International TCD 1057 UK 1995 Sell This Version
25.071-C Hootie & The Blowfish - Fairweather Johnson album art Hootie & The Blowfish Fairweather Johnson (Album) Atlantic 25.071-C Venezuela 1996 Sell This Version
AMCY-944 Hootie & The Blowfish - The Live Singles album art Hootie & The Blowfish The Live Singles(CD, MiniAlbum) Atlantic AMCY-944 Japan 1996 Sell This Version
PRCD 6745-2 Hootie & The Blowfish - Talking With Hootie & The Blowfish album art Hootie & The Blowfish Talking With Hootie & The Blowfish(CD, Promo, Int) Atlantic PRCD 6745-2 US 1996 Sell This Version
83136-4 Hootie & The Blowfish - Musical Chairs album art Hootie & The Blowfish Musical Chairs (Album) Atlantic 83136-4 Indonesia 1998 Sell This Version
83564-4, 7567-83546-4, HAO 2376 Hootie & The Blowfish - Hootie & The Blowfish album art Hootie & The Blowfish Hootie & The Blowfish (Album) Atlantic 83564-4, 7567-83546-4, HAO 2376 Indonesia 2003 Sell This Version
908-2 Hootie & The Blowfish - Looking For Lucky album art Hootie & The Blowfish Looking For Lucky (Album) Sneaky Long Records 908-2 US 2005 Sell This Version
79763-2 Hootie & The Blowfish - Live In Charleston - The Homegrown Tour album art Hootie & The Blowfish Live In Charleston - The Homegrown Tour(CD, Album) Sneaky Long Records, Vanguard Records 79763-2 US 2006 Sell This Version
B0031043-01 Hootie & The Blowfish - Imperfect Circle album art Hootie & The Blowfish Imperfect Circle (Album) Capitol Records Nashville B0031043-01 US 2019 Sell This Version
R1 590862, 603497851973 Hootie & The Blowfish - Live At Nick’s Fat City, 1995 album art Hootie & The Blowfish Live At Nick’s Fat City, 1995(2xLP, Album, Ltd, RM) Rhino Records (2), Rhino Records (2) R1 590862, 603497851973 US 2020 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

JS-5647 Hootie & The Blowfish - Hootie & The Blowfish album art Hootie & The Blowfish Hootie & The Blowfish (EP) Rustyfish Management JS-5647 US 1990 Sell This Version
RH6436 Hootie & The Blowfish - Time album art Hootie & The Blowfish Time(Cass, EP) Fishco RH6436 US 1991 Sell This Version
none Hootie & The Blowfish - Kootchypop album art Hootie & The Blowfish Kootchypop (EP) Fishco none US 1993 Sell This Version
PRCD 5931-2 Hootie & The Blowfish - Hannah Jane album art Hootie & The Blowfish Hannah Jane (Single) Atlantic PRCD 5931-2 Europe 1994 Sell This Version
7567-85574-2, A7188CDX Hootie & The Blowfish - Let Her Cry album art Hootie & The Blowfish Let Her Cry (Maxi, Single) Atlantic 7567-85574-2, A7188CDX Germany 1994 Sell This Version
4-87230 Hootie & The Blowfish - Hold My Hand album art Hootie & The Blowfish Hold My Hand (Single, Maxi) Atlantic 4-87230 US 1994 Sell This Version
PRCD 6436P Hootie & The Blowfish - Time album art Hootie & The Blowfish Time (Maxi, Single) Atlantic, Atlantic PRCD 6436P US 1995 Sell This Version
7567855612 Hootie & The Blowfish - Only Wanna Be With You album art Hootie & The Blowfish Only Wanna Be With You (Single) Atlantic 7567855612 Australia 1995 Sell This Version
7-85050 Hootie & The Blowfish - Use Me album art Hootie & The Blowfish Use Me(7") Atlantic 7-85050 US 1995 Sell This Version
7567-85467-2, A5467CD Hootie & The Blowfish - Sad Caper album art Hootie & The Blowfish Sad Caper (Single, EP) Atlantic, Atlantic 7567-85467-2, A5467CD Germany 1996 Sell This Version
4-87051 Hootie & The Blowfish - Tucker's Town album art Hootie & The Blowfish Tucker's Town (Single) Atlantic 4-87051 US 1996 Sell This Version
4-87074 Hootie & The Blowfish - Old Man & Me (When I Get To Heaven) album art Hootie & The Blowfish Old Man & Me (When I Get To Heaven) (Single) Atlantic 4-87074 US 1996 Sell This Version
060000810 - 7 Hootie & The Blowfish - Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart / Old Man & Me album art Stone Temple Pilots / Hootie & The Blowfish Stone Temple Pilots / Hootie & The Blowfish - Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart / Old Man & Me(7", Promo) Atlantic 060000810 - 7 Italy 1996 Sell This Version
7567844052 Hootie & The Blowfish - Only Lonely album art Hootie & The Blowfish Only Lonely (Single) Atlantic, Atlantic 7567844052 Australia 1998 Sell This Version