When I was a DJ on Cleveland commercial modern-rock station The End in the mid-’90s, I could never for the life of me figure why we played Hootie and the Blowfish. What on earth is “modern-rock” or “alternative-rock” about the chronically pleasant, strummy, poppy folk-rock of Blow and the Hootiefish (as we affectionately called them)?
The answer to this conundrum lies right here: note Hootie’s Cracked Rear View sitting in 15th place all-time in albums sales at an absurd and obscene 16 million units. 16 million Americans paid someone actual American currency to obtain that particular disc, more than all but 14 other recordings in the history of recorded music.
Stations are always going to play the most popular artists and recordings that remotely fit their format, and since Hootie didn’t fit anywhere else (basically no AAA at the time), they were deemed as fitting “modern rock” radio (which at the time stretched from the Indigo Girls to Nine Inch Nails), and at the time no one was more broadly popular than Hootie.
“Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” “Only Wanna Be With You,” and “Time” are all no less than listenable, and Darius Rucker is a fine update on the Jim Nabors, unself-conscious, let-that-baritone-fly school of singing, but it just seems like a record owned by 7% of the entire U.S. population should be someting more than consistently not-unpleasant; but then again, the ways of the consuming public are a constant source of bewilderment.
Anyway, with all of that scratch burning holes in their collective pockets, Hootie is giving some of it back:
- Hootie and the Blowfish have donated $80,000 to eight troubled South Carolina school districts.
“The children in our state are our best resource and our most hopeful investment,” said lead singer Darius Rucker, a South Carolina native. “From new computers to books for their libraries, we are going to help the students of these school districts get the tools they need to further their education.”
….The Grammy-winning group … also will hold their second annual Hootie and the Blowfish Homegrown Concert on Oct. 8 at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston.
The show will be the first in a series of four concerts aimed at trying to improve the educational needs of schools in the Carolinas. Ticket holders are asked to bring school supplies as a donation. [AP]
Pleasant AND virtuous, it’s the Hootie way.