Hang On Sloopy
|"Hang On Sloopy"|
|Single by The McCoys|
|from the album Hang On Sloopy|
|B-side||"I Can't Explain It"|
|Label||Bang Records (506)|
"Hang On Sloopy" is a 1964 song owned by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell, originally titled "My Girl Sloopy". A tale told around Columbus, Ohio, is that Sloopy was a waitress/singer, who used the name "Sloopy" on stage. The truth is the song was never about her. It was written by a St. Louis teen who created a fictitious "Sloopy" and then sold his rights to Farrell and Russell.
It was first recorded by The Vibrations in 1964, for Atlantic Records (45-2222), becoming a top-30 hit. As recorded by the pop group The McCoys, "Hang On Sloopy" went to #1 in America in October 1965. It served as the title track of a live 1965 recording (released on Rhapsody in 1966) by the Ramsey Lewis Trio; the disc became a gold record. Later it became the official rock song of the state of Ohio and The Ohio State University. It has also been recorded by The Ventures (Liberty 1965) as well as by Arsenio Rodriguez (Bang 1966), The Supremes (Motown 1966), The Kingsmen (WAND 1966), Little Caesar and the Consuls, The Yardbirds, Saving Jane, Jan & Dean (Liberty-LP "Folk'n'Roll" 1965), David Porter (Enterprise "Into A Real Thing" 1971), Lieutenant Pigeon and Die Toten Hosen (2002). It was also recorded by Ric Mango of Jay and The Americans and Johnny Maestro as a duet for an uncompleted album project. It was released on a 2011 CD titled "The Ric Mango Story". It has also been performed by Johnny Thunders and the Oddballs in a medley with "Louie Louie" and can be heard on the "Add Water and Stir" live Japan bootleg.
In 1965, The Strangeloves, a rock band who purported to be from Australia, decided to make the song the follow-up to their hit single "I Want Candy", and began performing the song in concert. However, the Dave Clark Five, with whom they were touring, told the Strangeloves that they were going to record their own version of the song, copying the Strangeloves' arrangement. The Strangeloves realized that the Dave Clark Five's version would probably outsell their own, but they were still enjoying success with "I Want Candy" and did not want to release a new single yet. So the trio—who were, in reality, three successful writer/producers from Brooklyn, New York— recruited a group from Union City, Indiana, Rick and the Raiders, to record the song instead. The group's name was changed to The McCoys (to avoid confusion with another popular band of the era, Paul Revere and the Raiders), and their 16-year-old leader, Rick Zehringer, became known as Rick Derringer. The McCoy's backup track was then also used by the Strangeloves, and the single was released on Bang Records. It entered the chart on August 14, 1965, effectively beating the Dave Clark Five to the charts. The single went on to hit number one on October 2.
Originally written and recorded with three verses, "Hang On Sloopy" was edited down to two verses for the single and original Hang On Sloopy album. The unedited three-verse version first appeared on the 1970 Bang various artists compilation Bang & Shout Super Hits (BLPS-220), then again in 1995 on the Sony Legacy compilation Hang On Sloopy: The Best of the McCoys
The song gained an association with The Ohio State University after its marching band began playing it at football games; it first played it October 9, 1965 after a band member, John Tatgenhorst, begged the director to try playing it. After finally convincing the director, Tatgenhorst arranged the song and the band played. After the crowd reaction, the band began to play it at every game and now it is a Saturday tradition to play the song before the start of the fourth quarter of every Buckeye game. Since then, "Sloopy" has been appearing on the band's CDs and is available as a free download on its website.
A possible reason that John Tatgenhorst brought the song to the band was that he heard it played, over and over and over again at the CharBar, one of the most popular bars at OSU, just across the street from the main entrance to the campus at 17th and High St. A group of bar regulars led by Paul Svec (who lived behind the CharBar at the time) took advantage of the house rule that gave whoever placed a coin next to the juke box the right to play the next song. Paul organized hundreds of coins placed in a line on table tops all around the main floor of the bar so that "Hang On Sloopy" was played all day long. The song quickly became the most popular song on the CharBar juke box and at OSU.
The song has also become a feature at the home games of professional sports teams throughout Ohio where, as is the case at Ohio State, fans usually chant the letters "O, H, I, O" during the pauses in the chorus while mimicking the shape of the letters with their arms.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band also covered this song live in concert on May 2, 2009 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Rick Derringer was still playing the song live with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band in November, 2011. In 2013 the Dj Offer Nissim made a remix of Porter's version, which became a big hit in the club scene.
The basic riff of the song became a staple of garage bands during the 1960s, being used on such songs as The Weeds' "It's Your Time" and Kit and the Outlaws' "Dude and the Sundowners" and "Don't Tread on Me." "Hang On Sloopy" was covered by Jan & Dean in 1965 on their album, "Folk 'n Roll". This song was also covered by The Beau Brummels on the band's 1966 album Beau Brummels '66. A 1973 cover version by Ramsey Lewis won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1974. Punk rock band, Youth in Asia (New Jersey) recorded the song on their 1984 album Pulling Out the Plug. A parody named "Hang On Snoopy" was included on Swiss rock group Patent Ochsner's 1994 album Gmües. Prior to this, a "Hang On Snoopy" parody was used in The Royal Guardsmen's hit single "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," but was removed after copyright threats. All-girl Japanese punk band Lolita No. 18 covered the song, which is a testament to its far-reaching influences. The song was also covered by the German punk-rock band Die Toten Hosen as b-side for their 2000 single "Bayern." Also in 2000, Aaron Carter recorded his version, included as a bonus track on his second album, Aaron's Party (Come Get It). In 2006, the rock group Saving Jane recorded the song also. There is a character in the novel The Wanderers by Richard Price named "Hang On Sloopy". The song also appears in several Peanuts cartoons but the words are altered slightly to "Hang On Snoopy". The family of the late Bert Russell Berns call their music publishing company Sloopy II Music. In Mexico was covered by the Rock & Roll group Los Teen Tops (The Teen Tops) and known as "Lupita mi Amor" (Lupita, My Love). The Smashing Pumpkins also released a cover of the song in their Live Smashing Pumpkins album series. The band Islands uses the chorus in a b-side named "Two Dogs."
Official rock song of the state of Ohio
In April 1985, Joe Dirck, columnist for the Columbus Citizen-Journal, saw a wire service story about a proposal to designate "Louie, Louie" as the official State song of Washington and wrote a series of tongue-in-cheek columns. He even registered as a lobbyist for the resolution. Dirck, who played bass guitar in rock bands himself, knew the McCoys, particularly Rick Derringer. He said it was a good fit because the McCoys were from the Dayton area, and Ohio State marching band had adopted it as an unofficial anthem. Both the public and its elected officials—most importantly, the 116th Ohio General Assembly became aware their State lacked an official song as a result of the exposure from his commentary. They designated "Hang On Sloopy" as the State rock song by House Concurrent Resolution 16 on November 20, 1985, with clauses including:
- "WHEREAS, "Hang On Sloopy" is of particular relevance to members of the baby boom generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously..."
- "WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the State anything, or affect the quality of life in this State to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff."
"Hang On Sloopy" is now also the official song of Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, who play at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. Many American ballparks have a tradition of choosing an 8th inning song for the fans and team, and "Hang On Sloopy" fills that role, and is played during the middle of every 8th inning. The song also plays at the end of the 3rd quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium during every Cleveland Browns game, and is also played at Cleveland Cavaliers games at Quicken Loans Arena..
- How well do you know 'Sloopy'?, Boomer Magazine via the Internet Archive.
- Setzer, Luke. "Lessons from a Dead Millionaire". Basic Manual Speech 7: Apply Your Skills. Retrieved 10/4/2011.
- Show 50 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library
- Ohio's State Rock Song - Hang On Sloopy - Ohio History Central - A product of the Ohio Historical Society
- Eric Lyttle. "The Real Story of Hang On Sloopy." Columbus Monthly. September 2003.
- Bob Shannon and John Javna. Hang On Sloopy – The McCoys, Behind the Hits. New York: Warner Books,1986. p. 228.
Under the heading Professional Sports the song is referred to as the 8th inning song. It is the custom at professional baseball games to have the 7th inning strech. It is the custom for the teams to play the song in the middle of the 7th inning during the 7th inning strech.
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