The Unexpectedly Deep Musical Roots of Hootie & the Blowfish

It’s almost the 25th anniversary of “Cracked Rear View,” Hootie & the Blowfish’s major label debut, one of the top-selling albums of all time. Despite its impressive sales, it has been largely shrugged off by critics and historians as a blip in the marketplace.

But as the Popcast host Jon Caramanica argued in a recent feature, the band has been severely underrated, a victim of its extreme popularity, the hyperserious era it emerged from, and an unwillingness to engage with the vectors of cool that defined the era.

This week’s episode is the first of a two-part Popcast about the legacy of Hootie & the Blowfish. In the first segment, hear a selection of Hootie deep cuts — songs from the span of their career that display the band’s dexterity but never were hits — and a conversation with Tim Sommer, who signed the group, about the strategies he used to help it get noticed and the Southern college rock tradition it carried into the mainstream.

On this week’s Popcast:

Tim Sommer, a former A&R representative for Atlantic Records who signed Hootie & the Blowfish

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