"The Beatles for me are it": Darius Rucker reflects on early musical influences, courtesy of his mom

On "Everything Fab Four," the Grammy winner discusses Hootie & the Blowfish and his memoir "Life's Too Short"

Published May 31, 2024 10:05AM (EDT)

Darius Rucker (Jim Wright)
Darius Rucker (Jim Wright)

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and musician Darius Rucker joined host Kenneth Womack to talk about discovering the Beatles’ music as a young child, the “most perfect record ever made,” his new memoir “Life’s Too Short” and much more on “Everything Fab Four,” a podcast co-produced by me and Womack (a music scholar who also writes about pop music for Salon) and distributed by Salon.

Rucker, best known as the founder and frontman of ‘90s rock group Hootie & the Blowfish – the multi-platinum selling band behind the hits “Only Wanna Be With You,” “Hold My Hand” and “Let Her Cry” – told Womack that while growing up, “Music was very important in our household. I don’t even remember a time when music wasn’t always around.”

His mom, who was in the church choir and whom Rucker said, “has an amazing voice,” had a cabinet that “most people used for liquor” filled with hundreds of record albums. “I was five years old and came across two Beatles 45s. There was not another white group in her whole collection. But I would sit there and play those two over and over and just fell in love with them.” Once he started working as a teen, he would use his money to buy his own Beatles albums and began playing the drums, eventually teaching himself to play guitar.

“For me, playing guitar and writing songs just came together,” said Rucker. “I didn't want to pretend I could write songs like the Beatles. But once I started playing, I just wanted to write my own songs and see what happened.” Hootie & the Blowfish formed when he was in college (the band taking its name from the nicknames of two fellow classmates) and played together for seven years before landing a record contract. “A lot of times we struggled,” he explained to Womack, “but the music kept us together.” And as the group gets ready to head back out on the road this summer, Rucker said, “We like each other. We have a lot of respect for each other. When it’s time to get back together and play, we just fall right into it . . . Playing our hits and meaning something to people like that, it’s awesome.”

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Rucker has also just released his first book, “Life’s Too Short: A Memoir,” in which he examines some of his relationships for the first time and said he “just wanted to be honest. I didn’t need to write a hook like with a song, I just needed to tell the story.” But as for what he said he could talk about 24 hours a day: “The Beatles for me are it. They're just the most important thing in music history. Everybody is influenced by the Beatles, everybody else has to line up behind them. They’re just better than everybody else, and I knew it when I was five.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Darius Rucker on “Everything Fab Four” and subscribe via Spotify, Apple, Google or wherever you’re listening. 

“Everything Fab Four” is distributed by Salon. Host Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography on Beatles producer George Martin and the bestselling books "Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles” and “John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life.” His latest book is the authorized biography of Beatles road manager Mal Evans, “Living the Beatles Legend,” out now.

By Nicole Michael

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Books Brief Darius Rucker Everything Fab Four Life's Too Short Music Podcasts The Beatles