Darius Rucker's latest hit "Wagon Wheel" is a cover of a song with an interesting history. In it's humble beginnings, the song was written in its original form by Bob Dylan when he was working on a soundtrack in the early 70s (the same soundtrack that gave us "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"). Its working title was "Rock me Mama" and it showed up on all kinds of Dylan bootlegs full of demos, etc. Old Crow Medicine Show is a folk, country, bluegrass group that took that song and basically re-worked it with some new lyrics, recording it over a decade ago.
I don't know if Darius had heard the version by Old Crow, or even the original Dylan bootleg. His old band Hootie and the Blowfish used to cover all kinds of random songs in their incarnation (great Hootie album of obscure covers worth finding: "Scattered, Smothered and Covered"), so maybe he had heard it before. It wasn't until Rucker was at a talent show at his daughter's high school when he heard some students do the song and he turned to his wife and said "I really think I have to record this song."
So, Darius is readying the recording of the song when he talks backstage with the members of Lady Antebellum who agree to sing background, which Rucker claims their backing vocals took it from being "just another album cut" to "a hit".
For all of Darius' success with Hootie and as a solo artist, this is his biggest single to date according to Soundscan. Great call on the cover, Darius.
So thanks for this great hit go to Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan bootleggers, Old Crow Medicine Show, those kids at the talent show, Charles, Hillary and Dave of Lady A, Darius, radio for thinking it would be a hit, and most importantly, YOU for making it a number one!