Darius Rucker: Five Songs That Changed The Way I Heard Music

Country hitmaker and Hootie leader recalls the pivotal songs from his past that shaped his world

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"So. Central Rain," R.E.M.

I first heard this around the time that MTV had just started. We were stealing cable since we couldn't afford it and I'm sitting around one day and this video came on. It was the first time I heard R.E.M. It was like the sun came up for me. At first, I really I thought it was a band from the 1960s. I didn't have any money, but I went to everybody in my family to ask for some. We all lived around the corner from each other. I asked them all for a dollar or 50 cents so I could go buy [Reckoning]. 

When you get to the chorus and he's singing "I'm sorry," you can feel the pain in his voice. That was when I really, really, really knew that I wanted to be a rock singer. It was really a moment for me. I'd never heard anything like it before. I never heard anyone sound like that or anything even remotely close to that. I loved everything about the band, the guitar riff ... the bass line is so smooth. I was instantly the biggest R.E.M. fan in the world just for that one song. Then I discovered all the others. 

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