Is 'Cracked Rear View' Classic Rock?

Hootie and The Blowfish
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The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

As time marches on and new generations revisit what makes things "classic," that leads to questions like this: is Cracked Rear View, Hootie and The Blowfish's breakthrough debut album, worth labeling as "classic rock"?

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Let's look at the facts: on May 27, 1995 - nearly a year after it was released - the album took hold of the top spot on the Billboard 200. It stayed there for four straight weeks, plus another four weeks through the summer of that year. The only act at No. 1 that long in 1995 was Garth Brooks with The Hits - and even that record didn't sell as many copies as Cracked Rear View did. (Hootie moved 10.5 million copies in 1995 alone, a number that's doubled today.)

But "classics" are not measured by sales alone. And Cracked Rear View is packed with popular songs that could still hold up on radio today. "Let Her Cry," "Hold My Hand," "Only Wanna Be with You," "Time"...they perked up the airwaves then (three of them were Top 10s) and they could do the same now. (Even a genre-bender like hip-hop/rocker Post Malone has taken to covering "Only Wanna Be with You.")

And then there's that Bob Dylan connection..."Only Wanna Be with You" borrows a few lines from Dylan's "Idiot Wind," which eventually led to the iconic singer/songwriter asking for some credit when the song took off. "When we first did that song we sent it to the publishing company and everything was fine," Darius Rucker told Rolling Stone in 2013. "We played it for years and had a really big hit with it. Then they wanted some money, and they got it." Ironically, Rucker would cover the Old Crow Medicine Show track "Wagon Wheel," based around an unused chorus by Dylan, in 2013. It became a major country hit and cross over into the pop charts, his biggest hit since his run of singles with Hootie nearly 20 years before.

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Whether you're ready to call Cracked Rear View "classic rock" or not is ultimately your call. But you wouldn't be judged for rightfully calling it a classic!

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