Here are a list of the best songs written by a South Carolinian. It’s more than just Hootie and the Blowfish and Marshall Tucker.
“Smooth” (recorded by Santana) &“3 AM” (recorded by Matchbox 20) written by Rob Thomas (Lake City and Turbeville, SC). Thomas is the lead singer of the band Matchbox 20. “Smooth” won a Grammy Award for both Santana and Thomas.
“Little Darlin’” & “Stay” written by Maurice Williams (Lancaster, SC). Maurice (with the Zodiacs)earned Rock and Roll immortality for the classic “Stay”, which was famously covered by Jackson Brown in 1977. “Little Darlin'” hit #2 in 1957 and was featured in the film American Graffiti.
“Take The Highway” & “Can’t You See” written by Toy Caldwell (Spartanburg, SC) and recorded by The Marshall Tucker Band. As guitarist and main songwriter for MTB, Caldwell is one of the stalwalts of the 1970s Southern rock movement.
“Half of My Mistakes” written by Radney Foster and Bobby Houck (Charleston, SC) and recorded by Radney Foster. Houck, who is part of The Blue Dogs, co-wrote this amazing song with Foster, one of the best and hottest writers on the Country/ Americana scene today.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (recorded by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, and Diana Ross) & “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” & “You’re All I Need To Get By” (recorded by Marvin Gaye) & “Let’s Go Get Stoned” (recorded by Ray Charles) Written by Nicholas Ashford (Fairfax, SC) and Valerie Simpson. The husband and wife team known as Ashford & Simpson were as important to the success of Motown as Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross. “Stoned” was their first major success as a hit for Ray Charles.
“Summertime” Written by George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward (Charleston, SC). Heyward wrote the libretto for this opening song for the opera “Porgy and Bess.” There are more than 1000 recorded versions of this song.
“Every Day In The Week Blues” Written by Pink Anderson (Laurens, SC). When English Mod rock n’roller Syd Barrett was looking for a name for his rock band he combined the first names of his favorite two bluesmen – Pink Anderson and Floyd Council and the rest is history.
“Still” Written by Whisperin’ Bill Anderson (Columbia SC). Anderson was a major country star of the 60s and 70s. In later years he hosted a game show on TNN.
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball (Rock Hill, SC). Another South Carolina country singer.
“I Got You (I Feel Good)” & “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” & “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown (Barnwell, SC). Soul Brother #1. The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. ‘Nuff Said.
“A Night In Tunisia” & Groovin’ High” by Dizzy Gillespie (Cheraw, SC). A staggering jazz figure, Dizzy is generally considered to be the co-inventor of be-bop (with Charlie Parker) Dizzy’s importance in modern music cannot be overstated.
“Corner Pocket” by Freddie Green (Charleston, SC). A product of the amazing Jenkins Orphanage Band in Charleston at the turn of the 20th Century. Freddie is credited for having the longest job in jazz history – the guitarist for the Count Basie Orchestra for over 50 years. “Pocket” has become a jazz standard. This Count Basie version is cool and swinging!
“Fire On The Mountain” by George McCorkle (Spartanburg, SC). Second guitarist for The Marshall Tucker Band. “Fire” is one of the great Southern country rock songs of the 1970s.
“Long Black Train” by Josh Turner (Hannah, SC). A Christian-oriented country artist with a truly classic voice. His first hit was this gospel-tinged Johnny Cask-like song.
“Blues For Lawrence” & A Gathering In The Clearing” by Cat Anderson (Greenville, SC). Another product of the Jenkins Orphanage. For 20 years, Cat was played first trumpet for the Duke Ellington Orchestra and became world famous for his high-note playing. He was also a superb composer and arranger.
“You’ve Got To Stand For Something” by Aaron Tippin (Traveler’s Rest, SC). A hard core honkey-tonk singer who sings with a full twange.
“Only Wanna Be With You”, “Time” & “Old Man And Me (When I Get To Heaven)” by Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber and Jim Sonnefield (Hootie and the Blowfish). These guys need no introduction.
“Jazz Battle” & “Lina Blues” by Jabbo Smith. Jabbo was one of the first kids from the Jenkins Orphanage to make a national reputation. One of the all time great trumpet players in early jazz.
“Jazz Me Blues” & “Down Home Blues” by Tom Delaney. Delaney was also a member of the Jenkins Orphange. “Jazz Me Blues” is jazz standard that has been recorded more than 1000 times, the most notable being a version by Bix Beiderbicke. “Down Home Blues” was Ethel Waters’ first blues hit. Delaney also wrote the obscure, filthy (and hilarious) “All The Girls Love Big Dick”.