Did Burger King Give Hootie His Twang?
If you're like me, you may be wondering how the hell Hootie frontdude Darius Rucker is currently reigning over the Hot Country Songs chart with the song "It Won't Be Like This For Long." Late-game conversions to country are not unusual anymore -- hey Jessica Simpson! And Elvis Costello? -- but few have played as well as Rucker at this game: this is his second single from 2008's "Learn to Live" that's managed to hit No. 1 on the country singles chart, and it is actually not-that offensively terrible!
Rucker explained his conversion to Billboard as a natural result of ingratiating himself in the scene: "I've been going to Nashville for so long, and I'm on a Nancy Griffith record and the Rodney Foster records and I worked with Mark O'Connor. I've been writing songs with people there and just have been around the whole country music world."
But there's a more entertaining explanation: this Burger King ad from 2005, where Rucker parodies the folk classic "Rock Candy Mountain" in an explicitly countrified fashion:
This idea has been floating around long enough that Rucker swore up and down to Minnesota's Rochester Post-Bulletin that this ad was not the seed of his career rebirth, saying "they just really have nothing to do with each other."
Uh huh ... we'll believe that when he stops inviting the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders to dance behind a giant hamburger at his shows.