How David Letterman Helped Make Hootie And The Blowfish's Career

Hootie and the Blowfish The Late Show with David Letterman

(Image credit: CBS)

Hootie & the Blowfish was one of the most popular bands in the 1990's thanks to hits like "Hold My Hand" and "Time." But before the group became known for smash hits such as "Let Her Cry," they had been a band for nearly a decade. So, how did they get their big break? Well, Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker credits David Letterman for it. In an interview with Larry King, Rucker said:

It was the moment our career changed. We had been a band for eight years, played a lot. We had put out a record, and it was doing okay in the South, but grunge was king, and nobody wanted to hear 'Hold My Hand,' it seemed like. And then Letterman...for some reason, one of the stations in New York played our record, and David heard it on the way home. And pulled the car over and called his booking agent and said, 'I want you to get me this band Hootie & the Blowfish.' That was a Tuesday, and that Friday, we were on the show. And honestly, Larry, on Thursday, we were just another band trying to make it. And Saturday morning, everybody was trying to find a Hootie & the Blowfish record. It was really one of those things, Letterman made our career, and we can never thank him enough.

That's how fast some things can happen. For Hootie & the Blowfish, nearly a decade of work all came together in roughly five days that helped change the course of their career. As Darius Rucker's comment to Larry King in the clip of the interview hints at, the band's upward trajectory is a lesson in the fact that a lot of work goes into the so-called "overnight success" of an entertainer.

And, while David Letterman helped launch the band into household name status, it would not have been possible without the group having music that got Letterman excited enough to have them on The Late Show. As listeners have seen through the years, an artist has to keep a body of work growing in order to maintain the exposure brought to them by performing on a late-night show.

Hootie & the Blowfish's mainstream success continued for years after their appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. In fact, it was the beginning of a long and storied career that contained a bevy of hits which helped contribute to the 1990's sonic scene. The band eventually went on hiatus, and Darius Rucker ventured forward with a solo career that has been tremendously successful. The band's last album Looking for Lucky came out roughly thirteen years ago, in 2005.

Before David Letterman retired in 2015 and long after Hootie & the Blowfish had released their latest album, the band reunited to perform on The Late Show. The performance came twenty-one years after their initial appearance on the show, per ET. You can watch Darius Rucker tell the story to Larry King in the video below:

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Had the then late-night talk show host not heard Hootie & the Blowfish and, in turn, liked what he listened to, would we have ever gotten to hear the beloved hits we enjoy today? We may never know for sure, and thanks to Letterman, fans do not have to wonder. David Letterman clearly has a gift for knowing great music, and he had the ability to put it to good use.

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Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.