Few artists in music have been able to successfully reinvent themselves from one genre to the next, but Darius Rucker has place on that exclusive list of artists. After a successful career in the 1990s as the lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish, Rucker embarked on a solo career in country music and audiences welcomed him with open arms. For 13 years, Rucker has been releasing hits to country radio, and here are 10+ of his best singles so far.
- “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” — from Learn to Live
Rucker introduced himself to country audiences in 2008 with his hit country single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” This up-tempo yet wistful breakup song finds Rucker thinking about a failed relationship, and although he was the one who ended it, he still looks back on the relationship with regret. The song was co-written by Rucker and Clay Mills and was a solid showing for the singer, landing at No. 1 on the Country Airplay charts. This accomplishment made Rucker the first Black country artist to reach the top of the country charts since Charley Pride’s “Night Games” in 1983. The song has also been certified Platinum.
2. “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” — from Learn to Live
Rucker is the furthest thing from a one-hit wonder, and after his first smash single, he kept the hit songs coming. Rucker followed “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” with “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” a sweet song that chronicles the experience of fatherhood and encourages parents to soak in every moment. Co-written by Rucker and Nashville heavyweights Ashley Gorley and Chris DuBois, the song became Rucker’s second country No. 1 in the US and his first Canadian No. 1. The song is also one of Rucker’s many Platinum singles.
3. “Alright” — from Learn to Live
Rucker’s Learn To Live album was full of radio-ready singles, and the third hit from the project came in the form of 2009’s “Alright.” At this point in his country career, Rucker had established his presence on country radio and his credibility as a country artist, and “Alright” soared at radio. Written by Rucker and Frank Rogers, the tune is a feel-good country song in which Rucker sings about all the simple things he loves in life and concludes that he’s doing “alright.” The song became Rucker’s third country No. 1 and has earned 2x Platinum status.
4. “Come Back Song” — from Charleston, SC 1996
After finding great success from his Learn To Live album, Rucker released his next effort, Charleston, SC 1996, named after his hometown. This 2010 album was also full of radio hits, and he started it off with the catchy “Come Back Song.” The song was written by Rucker, Chris Stapleton and Casey Beathard and finds the singer pleading with an ex to take him back. The tune is upbeat and cheerful in nature, and it certainly found its place on country radio, landing at No. 1 on the charts. It was also certified Platinum and served to kick off Rucker’s next album with positive buzz.
5. “This” — from Charleston, SC 1996
The second single from Rucker’s Charleston, SC 1996 album was an optimistic, upbeat tune called “This.” The tune, released as a single in 2010, is about all the heartbreak one endures and wrong turns one takes before finding where they’re meant to be. In this particular case, Rucker sings about finding his true love and having children after going through heartbreak earlier in his life. The song became Rucker’s fifth No. 1 single on Country radio.
6. “Wagon Wheel” — from True Believers
Rucker started a new career era with the release of his True Believers album in 2013, and after the title track failed to crack the Top 15 on the charts, he released the biggest hit of his career, “Wagon Wheel.” This song saw many lives before it made its way to Rucker. “Wagon Wheel” was written by Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show. Dylan wrote the chorus to the song in 1973 and Secor filled in the verses many years later. Old Crow Medicine Show released the song in 2004. Rucker then put a modern country spin on the tune in his version, which shot to the top of the charts and has been certified 9x Platinum. The song also earned Rucker three ACM award nominations, one CMA Award nod, one Billboard Music Award nomination and a win at the Grammy Awards for Best Country Solo Performance.
7. “Homegrown Honey” — from Southern Style
Rucker has a knack for writing and recording feel-good, upbeat country tunes, and 2014’s “Homegrown Honey” is no exception. In this tune, Rucker describes a beautiful southern girl without falling victim to the “bro-country” stereotypes of the time. The song is rich in country instrumentation and employs a danceable rhythm in the chorus. While the tune fell short of the No. 1 spot, landing at No. 2, it was a solid, Gold-certified single for Rucker.
8. If I Told You — from When Was The Last Time
While many of Rucker’s hit singles are feel-good tunes, the singer got serious in 2016 with “If I Told You” from his sixth studio album, When Was The Last Time. This song, written by Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally and Jon Nite, finds Rucker getting honest as he admits his shortcomings and wonders if his potential love interest will still accept him despite his flaws. The song isn’t sad, but rather introspective, as Rucker examines his life and hopes it aligns with his partner’s life. “If I Told You” became Rucker’s first No. 1 hit since “Wagon Wheel” and has been certified Platinum.
9. For The First Time — from When Was The Last Time
Rucker brought back his signature feel-good groove in his 2017 single, “For The First Time.” In the song, Rucker sings about the adventurous feeling that comes with doing something for the first time — such as leaning “back on a jet black Chevy” and “blowing smoke rings in the dark.” The song was co-written by Rucker, Derek George and Scooter Carusoe and serves as the perfect summer song. “For The First Time” became another chart success for Rucker, landing at No. 1.
10. Beers and Sunshine — from upcoming album
In 2020, the world changed with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and Rucker responded by releasing “Beers and Sunshine,” a fun tune about shaking off the world’s troubles and focusing on the good things. In the song, Rucker sings of shrugging off work, and instead has a fun day full of plenty of beers and sunshine. The song became yet another hit for Rucker, landing at No. 1 in February 2021 and earning Gold status.