Welcome to Radio Feedback, Radio.com’s weekly feature where we ask artists to wax nostalgic on the first time they heard themselves on the radio.
“The first time I ever heard ‘Hold My Hand’ on the radio, Dean and I were driving to the golf course,” he recalled. “You have to realize we were a band nine years before we got a record deal so we had been playing ‘Hold My Hand’ for five years. It came on the radio and we turned it [off]. That was us back then.”
Hootie & the Blowfish’s debut single, “Hold My Hand,” was released July 1994 and though it felt like it was everywhere that summer, the song surprisingly only peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song helped propel their album Cracked Rear View to go platinum 16 times in the U.S.and later become the best-selling album of 1995.
But just because Rucker wasn’t listening to “Hold My Hand” when it came on the radio doesn’t mean he turns off his country songs now.
“I don’t turn it [off] now. I listen to them now, absolutely,” he said. “I’ll never forget the first time I heard ‘Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It’ on the radio. The feeling was unbelievable. That was my song on the radio and it sounded awesome.”
“Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” off his 2008 album Learn to Live, was Rucker’s debut single as a country artist. The song went all the way to No. 1 on the country songs chart, making him the first African-American to reach No. 1 on that specific chart since Charley Pride‘s “Night Games” in 1983.
Though he was apathetic the first time around with “Hold My Hand,” Rucker does get excited when he hears his songs on the radio these days.
“I’m a cover band singer from Charleston, South Carolina, that got real lucky so I don’t take any of this stuff for granted,” he said. “Especially not anymore because I know how big it can be and I know how fast I can go away. For me, I don’t take any of that stuff for granted. I love it.”
Rucker’s third country album, True Believers, was released last week (May 21).