Darius Rucker’s Honors Around Myrtle Beach
From the CCMF Stage to the Hollywood Walk of Fame
South Carolina’s native son, Darius Rucker, receives one of the glitziest honors in the entertainment industry on December 4, 2023. He gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It shines a brighter spotlight on the talent and altruism seen throughout his career, but he’s had a few notable honors showcased right here in Myrtle Beach over the years.
Called by some, the World’s Most Famous Walkway, The Hollywood Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the City of Los Angeles. The committee that hand-picks the honorees is made up of fellow Walk of Famers. Those fortunate enough to be chosen represent different aspects of the entertainment world. Rucker’s star, the 2,766th star to be exact, represents the Recording Industry. For decades, their Chamber hosts those dedication ceremonies that you see on the show business news outlets like Entertainment Tonight, formerly hosted by Myrtle Beach’s own Nancy O’Dell.
SOUTH CAROLINA HALL OF FAME
For more than fifty years, The South Carolina Hall of Fame has recognized and honored citizens, both contemporary and past, who have made outstanding contributions to our state’s heritage and progress. Those eligible for induction were either born in South Carolina and obtained recognition elsewhere or were born elsewhere and obtained recognition here. Darius Rucker, inducted in 2020, is a Charleston, South Carolina, native who has distinguished himself both in his home state and elsewhere.
In 2001, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center became the official home of the South Carolina Hall of Fame. You can visit it on weekdays when scheduled events don’t prohibit outside guests. It is located at the end of the building nearest the Sheraton Hotel. You will see portraits of some of the earliest inductees. To read about Darius Rucker, go here: Inductees N-S South Carolina Hall of Fame (theofficialschalloffame.com). I highly recommend that you click on the link and watch the two-minute video. It has some great images from his early career and gives an overview of why he is so exceptional and truly deserving of being in his home state’s hall of fame. For just 120 seconds, it is a touching retrospective showing his mom who raised him and referencing her influence on his life.
I think the reason that I may have gotten a little choked up watching it is because I had just read his bio on the Carolina Country Music Festival, CCMF, website. Rucker has been booked to grace the CCMF stage in 2017, 2021 (he was scheduled to appear in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic). It is really less than a biography and more of an in-depth interview about his music.
What really got me was when he talked about his song, ‘So I Sang.’ It is autobiographical in itself. He describes it as being the confession of a man “who’s always felt more comfortable expressing himself through melody than through speech, even at such turning points as his mother’s funeral." Rucker said of his own life that “When my mom died, I couldn’t speak, I just remember singing in church with the choir, and then going home and putting on Al Green’s ‘Tired of Being Alone,’ which was her favorite song.” ‘So I Sang,' he said, “is just me singing about me.”
It's vulnerability and talent like his that makes him the country music star that he is today. Inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2012, it was a memorable occasion that he was not expecting.
He and his band were just finishing their last set at their scheduled Tuesday night concert at the Opry when the announcer asked if Darius wouldn’t mind taking a few questions from the audience and he graciously agreed. A couple of ladies, excited at the opportunity, asked him various things, and then the microphone was handed to a man…wearing a white hat. It was Brad Paisley.
Darius and Brad were friends and the former had been on the receiving end of more than one practical joke from the latter. So when he recognized the so-called fan in the audience, Rucker and his band broke into laughter. Paisley said that he had two questions for him. “One, are you still the worst poker player in the world?” Darius sheepishly answered in the affirmative. Then Brad asked the second question: “Would you like to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry?”
The crowd leapt to their feet, Brad ran up on stage, and when he asked the crowd to “Welcome him home,” Darius was overcome with emotion. He was now a bona fide country music star.
That was in addition to already being a bona fide rock star. Darius Rucker first found fame as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band that he still tours with today and he helped form when he was a student at the University of South Carolina along with Mark Bryan, Dean Felber and Jim “Soni” Sonefeld.
These four young men were soon known to the world as Hootie & the Blowfish. They didn’t particularly like the name that Rucker came up with, but they needed to call themselves something when they started booking local gigs.
The inspiration for the moniker came from two of Rucker’s buddies from school who came to hear them play at a party. One wore large glasses that made him look like an owl and the other had puffy cheeks like a blowfish. So when the two guys showed up at the party at the same time, Darius saw them and yelled, “Look, Hootie and the Blowfish!”
Peculiar name aside, their 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, is one of the top ten best-selling studio albums of all time. They’ve sold in excess of 21 million albums in all.
MYRTLE BEACH GOLF HALL OF FAME
So how did this incredibly successful rock band end up in the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame? Wait, there’s a Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame? How does one go about visiting the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame? Let me answer these questions in reverse.
The Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame makes its home at Myrtle Beach’s first golf course, The Pine Lakes International Country Club. It is located off of Kings Highway (Highway 17 Business) on Woodside Avenue between 52nd and 62nd Avenues North. From Grissom Parkway, very near the junction with Highway 17 Bypass, take Granddaddy Drive. The street name comes from the course’s nickname, The Granddaddy, because it is Myrtle Beach’s first course. Read more about it here: https://www.visitmyrtlebeach.com/article/historic-pine-lakes-country-club
But the Hall of Fame is not inside the historic clubhouse, the inductees are commemorated on bronze plaques outside, overlooking the course. It was created in 2008 in conjunction with Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday to “honor the men and women who have played significant roles in all aspects of the Myrtle Beach area golf industry.”
In the following year, Pine Lakes reopened after extensive renovations and the hall of fame was home. There were six initial inductees and two have been added in each year since. The reason Hootie & the Blowfish were included is revealed on their plaque. It says that since 2003, the band’s annual fundraising golf tournament, Monday After the Masters, MAM, that is held at the Dye Course at the Barefoot Resort, allows their Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation to donate millions of dollars to charities. While at the same time, it draws hundreds of celebrities and thousands of spectators to the Grand Strand, raising our profile in the golf world.
When you go into the Pine Lakes clubhouse, in their memorabilia room, you’ll see a photo of the band on the day that they were inducted. Hey, who’s that other guy in the picture joining the hall of fame that day? Oh, that’s Dustin Johnson. He used to play on the golf team at our local Coastal Carolina University. I hear he did okay in the golf world too.