When Darius Rucker emigrated from the pop-rock world as frontman of Hootie & the Blowfish to country music as a solo artist in 2008, it’s likely he didn’t expect the mass amount of success awaiting him.
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Now with more than 15 years in the country genre, Rucker has racked up 10 No. 1 hits with his friendly voice and reflective songs that have resonated with country audiences. From his mega-hit “Wagon Wheel” to gentler ballads like “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” here are five of Rucker’s best songs.
1. “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”
Rucker tugs on the heartstrings with “It Won’t Be Like This For Long.” This tender-hearted number has the listener looking through the perspective of a couple watching their child grow up, from the sleepless nights with a newborn baby to the day her father walks her down the aisle at her wedding. But what the song does beautifully is appreciate all the simple moments in between, captured in such lyrics as He lays down there beside her / Till her eyes are finally closed / And just watching her it breaks his heart / Cause he already knows / It won’t be like this for long. It’s arguably Rucker’s most sentimental song, also serving as one of his best.
2. “Wagon Wheel”
It’s hard to imagine Rucker’s catalog without “Wagon Wheel.” Though originally released by Old Crow Medicine Show in 2004 (with a co-writing credit given to Bob Dylan for writing the chorus and melody in an unreleased demo), Rucker’s 2013 rendition truly had the country singer make the song his own.
With background vocals provided by Lady A, “Wagon Wheel” offers an old-time country feel elevated by Rucker’s smooth voice. It’s not only one of Rucker’s signature hits, but one of the most successful songs in the genre’s history, as it’s only one of five country songs to be certified diamond for sales of more than 10 million copies.
“This” is a quintessential Rucker song. With its shimmering melody to its uplifting lyrics, Rucker explores his life through song on “This.” The lyrics find him in a state of gratitude for not only everything he has in life but for all the things he missed that ultimately led him to a place of happiness and contentment. If you’re looking for a song that reflects Rucker’s positive spirit, let it be “This.”
Rucker stays in a cheerful spirit with “Alright.” One of his signature hits, “Alright'” brings all the good vibes as he sings, May be a simple life / But that’s okay / If you ask me baby, I think I’ve got it made / ‘Cause I got a roof over my head / The woman I love laying in my bed / And it’s alright. The song became his third consecutive No. 1 hit as a solo country artist, solidifying his place in the genre.
5. “I Got Nothin'”
Though Rucker is known for his upbeat songs, he also knows how to deliver a breakup ballad. He proves this with “I Got Nothin,'” which finds a couple at the end of their rope, trying to find any reason to hold on. But I got nothin’ / No magic words / To stop your leavin’ / To end this hurt, Rucker sings convincingly, capturing the heartache of the moment in his voice, making for one of his best songs.
Photo by Keith Griner/ Courtesy EB Media