University of South Carolina receives memorabilia from Hootie & the Blowfish

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FILE – Hootie and the Blowfish perform during the Group Therapy Tour at the Riverbend Music Center on July 20, 2019 in Cincinnati. On Friday, June 3, 2022, band member Rick Noble donated his collection of all things Hootie & the Blowfish, including CDs, ticket stubs, an autographed guitar and t-shirts, to the University of South Carolina, where the band was formed in 1986. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)

Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Hootie & the Blowfish got their start at the University of South Carolina, and the school is now home to a boatload of memorabilia from the Grammy-winning rock band.

On Friday, longtime fan Rick Noble donated his collection of everything Hootie & the Blowfish – including CDs, ticket stubs, an autographed guitar and t-shirts – to the school where the band attended. formed in 1986.

“The story of Hootie and Blowfish is forever linked to the University of South Carolina – it is one of the exciting pieces of our modern history,” Acting President Harris Pastides said in a press release. “Rick’s collection will help capture this history and preserve it for future generations. We are very grateful for his foresight, dedication, and generosity in sharing a gift that increases the stature of the university library music collections.

Noble, who is now retired from a career in nonprofit work including as longtime CEO of Richland County First Steps, said he’s been collecting memorabilia from the group since 1993, a year before the release of the band’s debut album, “Cracked Rear View.” He said he first became interested in the band after listening to his daughter’s copy of an early album, then contacted the band members and management when they performed at a benefit concert organized by Noble.

“They just started giving me T-shirts and other merchandise,” Noble recalled. “And I just went from there. It was a treasure hunt. »

The band’s merchandise is the second collection of contemporary music memorabilia to come to college libraries. A large collection of guitars, photographs and costumes from rock band KISS was donated in 2020.

Dean of Libraries Tom McNally said the special collections help attract scholars and students to the university and he hopes other collectors and musicians will continue to donate items for display, teaching and the research.

Library staff are in the process of organizing, appraising and preserving the donated items, which also include chopsticks, a Hootie candle and golf balls. Once completed, a public visit will be scheduled.

Noble’s donation comes shortly after the University of South Carolina Press published a book about the band’s history, “Only Wanna Be with You: The Inside Story of Hootie & the Blowfish.”

“It’s such a special moment to see his collection return to the UofSC library and we couldn’t be more grateful to him for supporting both our band and our university,” said lead singer Darius Rucker. of the group.

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