Much has been made of the fact that the first songs Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker, then a country music hopeful, brought to Capitol Nashville exec Mike Dungan were deemed too country for country. By Dungan’s own report: “Half the songs he came in with were Vern Gosdin, tear-in-the-beer-type ballads, and the other half were Texas two-step shuffles. I said, ‘Darius, we can’t get either one of these kinds of songs played on radio.’ We wound up actually pushing him a little more to the Hootie side of things than the traditional side.”
Perhaps understanding that calling Hootie too country for country might reflect poorly on the present state of affairs at country radio, Dungan has finally decided to set the record straight.
“I think my original quote has been taken out of context. The traditional form of many of the songs Darius brought in was a secondary issue. Our main concern was the content: every last one of those tear-in-your-beer ballads and two-step shuffles was about Burger King’s delicious TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich. I mean, it was bizarre. ‘We get it, Darius… you like the sandwich.’ We just didn’t think a whole album of sandwich songs would sit well with music consumers or radio programmers.”
“By the way, the first album cover shot Darius submitted to us? A picture of him grinning like a schoolboy in one of those cardboard Burger King crowns,” added Dungan. “God bless him, but that’s creepy.”
Contacted for comment, a spokesman for Burger King explained:
“There’s a popular misconception that we commissioned Darius to perform a rewritten version of ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ advertising the sandwich for the television spot. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“Actually, Darius came to us with the idea that we might be able to help him release at least one of his countless traditional country songs about the TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch to the public. We were flattered and decided to help him launch his career in country music by putting up the money for his first music video, which some have erroneously referred to as a commercial.”
Burger King was reportedly forced to sever all ties to Rucker when he would not stop sending them burnt CDs with more TenderCrisp two-steppers and calling company headquarters at all hours of the night.