Hit Parade

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The Bridge: Losing Hootie’s Religion

The man who signed Hootie & the Blowfish to the majors says they mainstreamed the formerly indie jangle of R.E.M.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Tim Sommer, former bassist, music journalist, MTV/VH1 veejay and Atlantic Records A&R representative. While at Atlantic, Tim signed Hootie & the Blowfish, and in his 2022 book Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish, he tells the story of how he saw the band as cultural descendants of R.E.M., how they became one of the top-selling acts of the ’90s, and why they fell off the charts so quickly.

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives him a chance to turn the tables with a question of his own, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.

About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.