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Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish

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Experience the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of one of the biggest bands of the nineties In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock Experience the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of one of the biggest bands of the nineties In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region. In Only Wanna Be with You, Tim Sommer, the ultimate insider who signed the band to Atlantic Records in 1993, pulls back the curtain on the band's indie days; the chart-topping success of their major-label debut, cracked rear view; the year of Hootie (1995); the lean years; Darius Rucker's history-making rise in country music; and one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the century. Featuring new and extensive interviews with the band members, some of the band's most famous fans, and stories from the recording studio, tour bus, and golf course, this book is essential reading for Hootie lovers and music buffs.


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Experience the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of one of the biggest bands of the nineties In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock Experience the exclusive, behind-the-scenes story of one of the biggest bands of the nineties In 1985, Mark Bryan heard Darius Rucker singing in a dorm shower at the University of South Carolina and asked him to form a band. For the next eight years, Hootie & the Blowfish—completed by bassist Dean Felber and drummer Soni Sonefeld—played every frat house, roadhouse, and rock club in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast, becoming one of the biggest independent acts in the region. In Only Wanna Be with You, Tim Sommer, the ultimate insider who signed the band to Atlantic Records in 1993, pulls back the curtain on the band's indie days; the chart-topping success of their major-label debut, cracked rear view; the year of Hootie (1995); the lean years; Darius Rucker's history-making rise in country music; and one of the most remarkable comeback stories of the century. Featuring new and extensive interviews with the band members, some of the band's most famous fans, and stories from the recording studio, tour bus, and golf course, this book is essential reading for Hootie lovers and music buffs.

30 review for Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine Cardus

    10 stars🌟 It’s not an understatement for me to say that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Hootie & the blowfish. They were the first band that I ever fell in love with and I never fell out of love with. They are deeply embedded in my ❤️. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this book - other than obviously I was going to buy it and read it. I was completely blown away by the level of detail and research Tim Sommer put into this story. It was a travel through time behind 10 stars🌟 It’s not an understatement for me to say that I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Hootie & the blowfish. They were the first band that I ever fell in love with and I never fell out of love with. They are deeply embedded in my ❤️. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this book - other than obviously I was going to buy it and read it. I was completely blown away by the level of detail and research Tim Sommer put into this story. It was a travel through time behind the scenes look at my favorite four guys that I didn’t realize I was missing. I’ve read a lot about this band and there was so much in this story I didn’t know- and so much that brought back so many memories of times in my life. I didn’t entirely agree with Tim’s assessment of their albums (Fairweather Johnson is my favorite hootie album) but good thing everyone can have their own opinion. 😄 This book is a treasure and I can’t recommend it enough- it’s worth the read by anyone who wants an incredible story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tony Laplume

    Hootie & the Blowfish occupies a unique place in rock history. It’s probably the most popular act, at least of the modern era, to have become a complete joke in only a few years. In scoring a ubiquitous presence upon its major label debut, Hootie really had nowhere to go but down. Tim Sommer does an adequate job of tracing the most convenient interpretation of the band’s career. Sommer was a label talent scout who helped discover Hootie, and his close working association with the band, during mos Hootie & the Blowfish occupies a unique place in rock history. It’s probably the most popular act, at least of the modern era, to have become a complete joke in only a few years. In scoring a ubiquitous presence upon its major label debut, Hootie really had nowhere to go but down. Tim Sommer does an adequate job of tracing the most convenient interpretation of the band’s career. Sommer was a label talent scout who helped discover Hootie, and his close working association with the band, during most of its tenure at Atlantic, gives him a decent view of how it played out. What he lacks is any real perspective. From the moment the second album “failed,” everyone needed some kind of explanation. But I doubt anyone is very interested in the simplest one, that as of 1996 there wasn’t room in the popular culture for Hootie anymore. And that’s pretty much it. Hootie’s popularity, how the first album blew up so big, is competently spelled out in these pages. The American pop landscape was rapidly expanding, from the late night wars between Letterman and Leno to the last major era of the sitcom as led by Friends, both of which featured Hootie to everyone’s benefit. A music video featuring the emerging phenomenon of ESPN certainly didn’t hurt, although how it made the band look (as a bunch of goofs) probably only fed into all the concerns that Hootie was as uncool as everyone had already assumed. But Hootie was cool, in a way that still somehow is invisible in pop culture: the college scene as it’s been for the past forty years. Hootie was always called a “bar band,” but the band formed in college and mastered the art of being a college band. Classic rock still gives the image of garage bands formed in high school. Hootie came together out of a scene that obsessed over small acts as much as major ones. Sommer rightfully emphasizes how these were guys who lived and breathed music. They patterned their ideas of success not on, say, the Beatles, but some outfit called Johnny Quest, out of their very left field origins in the music scene of their native South Carolina. The result in their music very often eschewed the expectations of…everyone. Rock music, and not just the grunge phenomenon playing out in the backdrop of Hootie’s rise, but the whole history of it, tends to feed on itself, the successful acts. The Beatles, for instance, adored Buddy Holly. But Hootie just loved music. And Sommer tends to be dismissive of music from the band’s later albums. His interest rapidly diminishes after the first one. But his outline of the band’s origins is comprehensive, and clearly his primary interest, as well as reporting on the successful 2019 tour. If you want to know much more than that, this book is only gonna disappoint you. Someone else will put all this in perspective. And perhaps more people will decide it’s okay to take Hootie seriously.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Of course I read this hoping for hot gossip and insider details on the band members' personal lives, and potential references to people I knew in college, but I came away with a better understanding of how the music industry works (or worked, I should say, back in the early 1990s) and how, exactly, Hootie & the Blowfish produced one of the best-selling albums of all time. Sommer, who started writing about music for Trouser Press as a teen, and was the first American to interview U2, has an engag Of course I read this hoping for hot gossip and insider details on the band members' personal lives, and potential references to people I knew in college, but I came away with a better understanding of how the music industry works (or worked, I should say, back in the early 1990s) and how, exactly, Hootie & the Blowfish produced one of the best-selling albums of all time. Sommer, who started writing about music for Trouser Press as a teen, and was the first American to interview U2, has an engaging style, full of humor. And he asked good questions. He got Darius Rucker to talk about race, and he also addressed the political content of some of Hootie's songs. My only quibble is that there wasn't an index, which is a little surprising since this book was published by a university press. Nevertheless, it's a solid and entertaining account of a band that will down in history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Reyes

    I don't dislike Hootie and the Blowfish, but I wouldn't consider myself a "fan". However, I totally enjoyed this book! A nostalgic trip for anyone who grew up Gen-X. I was navigating the music scene in the late 80s and early 90s as a college music student myself and remember all too well how we had to make cassettes of our music, flyers, and other promotional items had to be done without a computer or cell phone, and we literally had to call up all our friends on the phone or send post cards to I don't dislike Hootie and the Blowfish, but I wouldn't consider myself a "fan". However, I totally enjoyed this book! A nostalgic trip for anyone who grew up Gen-X. I was navigating the music scene in the late 80s and early 90s as a college music student myself and remember all too well how we had to make cassettes of our music, flyers, and other promotional items had to be done without a computer or cell phone, and we literally had to call up all our friends on the phone or send post cards to get them to come to our gigs. The early 90s was a great era for music that was raw and real. I really enjoyed Tim Sommer's tale about this band. I listened to it on audiobook and the narrator did a great job as well. If you like memoirs about musicians, this is one to read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jquick99

    DNF. I really dislike it when an author inserts himself into the story, and this author is a super fan boi, who thinks he’s part of the story. “Because of xx and me.” “Because I and ….” way too many times. The author def thinks the bands breaking and success has to do with him. Also didn’t care for the flowery way the author writes and when an event (even minor) happens, he has quotes from several members of the band. He knows the band, but it reads as though someone downloaded every word any of DNF. I really dislike it when an author inserts himself into the story, and this author is a super fan boi, who thinks he’s part of the story. “Because of xx and me.” “Because I and ….” way too many times. The author def thinks the bands breaking and success has to do with him. Also didn’t care for the flowery way the author writes and when an event (even minor) happens, he has quotes from several members of the band. He knows the band, but it reads as though someone downloaded every word any of the band members ever said, and cut and pasted together to form the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Margena Adams Holmes

    I've been a Hootie and the Blowfish fan since I first heard them on the radio back in 1994, so was really looking forward to reading this book. As a fan, some of the things in the book I already knew about, but there are a LOT of things I didn't know. Lots of stuff from the early college days through to their Group Therapy Tour in 2019 (which was great). If you're a casual fan, you'll appreciate this book, and if you're a True Fan Johnson, you'll love this book! I've been a Hootie and the Blowfish fan since I first heard them on the radio back in 1994, so was really looking forward to reading this book. As a fan, some of the things in the book I already knew about, but there are a LOT of things I didn't know. Lots of stuff from the early college days through to their Group Therapy Tour in 2019 (which was great). If you're a casual fan, you'll appreciate this book, and if you're a True Fan Johnson, you'll love this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike Ely

    This is a great behind the scenes look at the entire history of Hootie and the Blowfish. It's informative and dense and provides a great story of the band, the people in the band and behind the band, and the music industry in general. I know way more about Hootie and the Blowfish than before I read this book! This is a great behind the scenes look at the entire history of Hootie and the Blowfish. It's informative and dense and provides a great story of the band, the people in the band and behind the band, and the music industry in general. I know way more about Hootie and the Blowfish than before I read this book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Great look at the early days of one of my favorite bands. From their inception through their third album in 1998, this biography is super in depth. It falls off a bit in detail after that time period but does give some interesting insights, including a nice chapter detailing Darius Rucker’s solo stardom in country music.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Highly recommended. I've loved Hootie and the Blowfish pretty much since I heard the first note of "Let Her Cry" many years ago. So, obviously, I devoured this book. An amazing and fascinating chronicle of a band that made a massive impact on music in the early-to-mid 90s. Highly recommended. I've loved Hootie and the Blowfish pretty much since I heard the first note of "Let Her Cry" many years ago. So, obviously, I devoured this book. An amazing and fascinating chronicle of a band that made a massive impact on music in the early-to-mid 90s.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kacey Gregerson

    I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but it still surprised me. The author shares the inside story- from a music business standpoint. The book made me nostalgic for going to the store when new albums dropped- and makes me hope Hootie goes on tour again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dody Brigadier

    Such a fun read. It was great to see all the behind the scenes of where the band was started. I am a huge Hootie fan. But I think even if you do t know much about the band you would enjoy this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Greubel

    Loved it. As one who saw the shows in the years they are talking about, including the "comeback" Imperfect Circle anniversary tour and 2 Darius solo shows, this book was very insightful. Loved it. As one who saw the shows in the years they are talking about, including the "comeback" Imperfect Circle anniversary tour and 2 Darius solo shows, this book was very insightful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Adams

    Exactly what it says on the tin. A thorough history of a classic band. If you care about them, you'll enjoy it. If you don't, you probably won't. Exactly what it says on the tin. A thorough history of a classic band. If you care about them, you'll enjoy it. If you don't, you probably won't.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Todd Brock

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa B. Waide

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  17. 5 out of 5

    Theresa McGowan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bill Campbell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claire Goodrich

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dakota Weldon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Howard Stanley

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ira Robbins

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elliott Pratt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Coleman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Slocum

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mickey Baines

  30. 5 out of 5

    Seth Kines

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