by Jessica Nicholson
Happy birthday to Darius Rucker, who turns 55 today (May 13)!
After his career skyrocketed in the 1990s with a string of successful Hootie & the Blowfish hits such as “Hold My Hand,” and the Diamond-certified debut project Cracked Rear View, Rucker released his first country album in 2008 with Learn to Live.
Since then, he’s earned four No. 1 albums on Billboard’s country chart, and earned nine No. 1 country radio hits. He was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2012, and in 2014, he won his third Grammy Award, for Best Solo Country Performance for his rendition of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.”
Last year, he co-hosted the CMA Awards alongside Reba McEntire and earned his latest No. 1 hit with “Beers and Sunshine” in February. He’s working on a new album, and just released his latest single, “My Masterpiece.”
CMT takes a look at five of this artist’s most essential country tracks.
This 2008 hit featuring country trio Lady A on background vocals earned Rucker an 8x multi-platinum hit, and garnered him his third Grammy win. The song is a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s classic, which has an interesting origin story. Bob Dylan penned the song’s chorus in 1973 and more than 20 years later, Old Crow’s Ketch Secor finishing the song by adding verses.
“Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”
This 2008 song earned Rucker his first country No. 1 hit, following his success with Hootie & The Blowfish. This song also marked the first No. 1 country hit from a Black artist since Charley Pride reached the chart pinnacle with 1983’s “Night Games.”
In his hit, Rucker sings of how he knows his relationship has fizzled for a reason, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t often remember it and wonder how things could have turned out differently.
“It Won’t Be Like This For Long”
This sentimental track, also from Rucker’s debut country album, chronicles how children grow up so quickly and how each life phase, from childhood through nearing adulthood–passes by much too fast.
“If I Told You”
This 2016 hit earned Platinum status. While Rucker was not a writer on this hit–it was penned by Ross Copperman, Jon Nite and Shane McAnally–Rucker has said of the song, “as a songwriter I would not change a line as it moves me to want to not only sing along but also as a songwriter it inspires a new perspective.”
This 2009 hit reached No. 1 and went double platinum, on the strength of its joyous vibe and insistence on celebrating the little things that make life good, from having shoes to wear, a place to live–and of course, The Best of Patsy Cline playing.