Darius Rucker has made quite an impact on country music since his first album Learn To Live released in 2008. The South Carolina native originally made a name for himself as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish before embarking on a solo career. Now he's one of Nashville's best-known country artists and a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Not only did Rucker become the first Black singer to reach number one on the country charts since Charley Pride in the '80s, but he was also the first Black artist to win a Best New Artist award from the Country Music Association (CMA Awards).
Rucker's been releasing Grammy award-winning hits for years and isn't stopping anytime soon, with more recent offerings including "Beers and Sunshine" and a cover of rock band Drivin' N Cryin's "Straight to Hell" featuring Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Lady A's Charles Kelley.
Here are the 10 best Darius Rucker songs.
1. "For The First Time"
This song from the album When Was the Last Time reached No. 1 on the country charts in 2017. According to Rucker, it's one of the most personal statements as a songwriter. It's all about accomplishing those bucket list items in your life and trying new things, so he felt like it was the perfect country song.
From Rucker's 2009 country album Learn To Live, this song is pure feel-good. Another No. 1 country hit for the singer; it still holds up as an upbeat tune, and you can't help but sing along.
3. "Homegrown Honey"
This infectious song, written with Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman, is from Rucker's fifth album Southern Style. It hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and it's clear why.
4. "History in the Making"
Co-written by Rucker, Clay Mills, and Frank Rogers, this sweet love song was the fourth single from Learn to Live. It reached number three on the charts (his first single to miss number one).
5. "Southern Style"
This song from the 2015 album of the same name peaked at number 33 on the US Country Airplay chart. The breezy, laid back song is a love story to the South. If you're a Southerner, this tune will quickly fill you will nostalgia.
6. "If I Told You"
Rucker's first number one since "Wagon Wheel" in 2013, this 2017 hit was a profoundly personal ballad that the singer was incredibly excited to record. Though he didn't help write the song, he was immediately drawn to its emotional lyrics.
7. "Come Back Song"
Co-written by Casey Beathard and Chris Stapleton, this was the lead single from Rucker's 2010 album Charleston, SC 1966. With its upbeat tempo, it's hard not to love this song that centers on the narrator singing for his ex to come back.
8. "Don't Think I Don't Think About It"
This was Rucker's first No. 1 hit (and single) following his Hootie and the Blowfish days. This classic song secured his place among the country music greats.
9. "Wagon Wheel"
One of Rucker's best-known songs, this is actually a cover originally written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. (Dylan wrote the chorus in 1973, and Secor added verses over two decades later.) His version, which includes back up vocals from Lady Antebellum, reached platinum in 2014, one year after it won the Best Country Solo Performance at the 2013 Grammys. It appears on Rucker's 2013 album True Believers.
10. "It Won't Be Like This For Long"
This acoustic song shows a different side of Rucker as he sings of a family with children and how quickly time goes by. From his first country album Learn To Live, this was another number one on the Country Airplay chart for a reason.
This story was originally published on March 6, 2020.