In 1980, The Hooters burst onto the Philadelphia music scene as a new and different kind of rock band, formed by co-leaders and writers Rob Hyman (lead vocals, keyboards, accordion) and Eric Bazilian (lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, mandola, harmonica, saxophone). The other members include original drummer David Uosikkinen, John Lilley (guitars, mandolin), Fran Smith, Jr. (bass, vocals) and Tommy Williams (guitars, mandolin, vocals).
Their unique blend of ska, reggae, and rock was a fresh sound in the clubs and on Philly radio, and in 1983, The Hooters released their first independent album Amore to great local success. The album also featured the “hooter,” or melodica, as part of their special sound and namesake.
The Hooters’ strong and powerful presence, as performers and as songwriters, led to their first major record deal in 1984 with Columbia Records. Their 1985 debut release Nervous Night quickly achieved Gold and Platinum status in the USA, Australia and Canada with the hits And We Danced, All You Zombies, Day By Day and Where Do The Children Go.
Rolling Stone magazine named The Hooters the “Best New Band of the Year” in 1985, and in July of that year, the group was chosen to open the historic Live-Aid concert in Philadelphia. By 1986, they had been touring the US and Canada almost non-stop, and that summer The Hooters were sharing the stage at the Amnesty International Concert at Giants Stadium with acts such as U2, The Police, Miles Davis, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel.
In 1987, the group released their second album, One Way Home, again achieving Gold and Platinum status in the US as well as new markets in Japan and Europe. With songs like Johnny B, Satellite and Karla With A K, David Fricke, from Rolling Stone, wrote, “The Hooters have made airwave magic with unconventional ingredients”.
In 1989, The Hooters released their third major label album on Columbia Records, Zig Zag. It introduced a more acoustic, unplugged Hooters sound, while still maintaining those infectious pop hooks for which the band is so well known. With the legendary folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary on backing vocals, their updated version of the classic 500 Miles became a worldwide hit which led to another double Platinum success for the band.
It was also during this time that the group was asked by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd to participate in his multimedia extravaganza The Wall in Berlin, 1990, to celebrate unity in Germany. The Hooters joined music legends such as Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, The Band, Sinead O’Connor, and Bryan Adams for an unforgettable musical experience at the very site where the Wall came down.
In 1993 Out Of Body was released on MCA Records featuring the hit Private Emotion, which was later covered by Ricky Martin on his smash debut, and it was during that summer that the band recorded their Live In Europe album (MCA 1995). Around this time, Sony also released a long-awaited compilation album entitled Hooterization – A Retrospective, a collection of their greatest hits, which earned the group its first Gold album in Germany.
Following these albums and many years of touring, The Hooters decided to take a much-needed break and concentrate on various solo and collaborative projects. Rob and Eric continued to contribute their musical and songwriting assistance to other artists including Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Band, Carole King, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, The Chieftains, Jon Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams, The Scorpions, Dar Williams and Taj Mahal, among others.
After an extended hiatus, the band began to tour again in 2003. In 2006 they recorded their first new studio album in 13 years, Time Stand Still, which included the hit I’m Alive and their unique acoustic arrangement of Don Henley’s The Boys Of Summer. The CD was officially released in September 2007 on MRI/Sony Red in the US, and through Neo/Sony BMG Distribution in Europe.
In 2009, The Hooters released Both Sides Live, a double-album set featuring all the band’s greatest hits in both full-tilt electric and distinctive acoustic live performances. And in 2010, their EP 5×5 was released, featuring the single Silver Lining as well as versions of the hits Time After Time and One Of Us. Those two songs had previously earned Rob and Eric Grammy nominations for “Song Of The Year,” which they had written and recorded for Cyndi Lauper and Joan Osborne respectively.
In 2017, The Hooters released Give The Music Back, a new double-live album recorded at the legendary Keswick Theater, near their hometown base of Philadelphia. This compilation CD and subsequent international tours continue to reflect their strong collaborations in the studio, their passionate energy onstage, and their long-time friendship on the road and off. And their live shows endure as a joyful musical celebration for both the band and their loyal, enthusiastic fans. And in 2020, the band will celebrate 40 years performing onstage – come get Hooterized!