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"Hang On Sloopy" is a 1964 song by Wes Farrell and Bert Berns, originally titled "My Girl Sloopy", it was first recorded and made a hit by R&B vocal group The Vibrations. When the rock band The McCoys covered it in 1965, the song peaked at #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the UK Singles Chart.

"Hang On Sloopy"
The McCoys.jpg
Single by The McCoys
from the album Hang on Sloopy
B-side"I Can't Explain It"
ReleasedJuly 1965
FormatVinyl, 7", 45 RPM
Recorded1964, 1965
GenreGarage rock[1][2]
LabelBang 506
Songwriter(s)Wes Farrell
Bert Russell
Producer(s)Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer
The McCoys singles chronology
"Hang On Sloopy"



According to Rick Derringer, the original version of Sloopy was written by a "high school kid in St. Louis" and sold to Bert Russell, a.k.a. Bert Berns.[3] The inspiration for the song is said to be Dorothy Sloop, a jazz singer from Steubenville and a student at Ohio University.

The Vibrations' original versionEdit

"My Girl Sloopy" was first recorded by the Los Angeles-based R&B vocal group, The Vibrations in 1964, for Atlantic Records (45-2222). It was a hit, reaching #10 on the R&B chart, and #26 on the US pop chart.[4] In April 1965,[5] The group members were Don Bradley, Carl Fisher, Dave Govan, James Johnson, and Ricky Owens. The song then became a local hit in the Pacific Northwest in a cover version by James Henry & The Olympics (Jerden Records),[6] but it was quickly eclipsed in August when the Indiana pop group The McCoys released their iconic retitled version. "Hang On Sloopy" went to #1 in the United States in October 1965.[7]

Origin of the McCoys versionEdit

In early 1965, The Strangeloves, a New York City rock band, wanted to make the song the follow-up to their hit single "I Want Candy" and began performing it in concert. However, the Dave Clark Five, with whom they were touring, told the Strangeloves that they were going to record their own version when they returned to England, copying the Strangeloves' crowd-pleasing arrangement. The Strangeloves realized that the Dave Clark Five's cut would likely be a hit, but they were not yet ready to release a new single because they were still enjoying the success of "I Want Candy" from a few months earlier. The answer presented itself when a young rock group named Rick and the Raiders opened for (and provided backing for) The Strangeloves in July in Dayton, Ohio.[8] The Strangeloves — who were, in reality, three successful writer/producers from Brooklyn, New York — recruited Rick and The Raiders to record the song under their name. Their 16-year-old leader, Rick Zehringer, was flown to New York to record his lead vocal over The Strangeloves' already-recorded backing tracks. It was decided to change the name of Rick's group to The McCoys to avoid confusion with another popular band at the time, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Rick himself began using the stage name Rick Derringer. The single was issued on Bang Records and entered the chart on August 14, 1965, effectively beating the Dave Clark Five to the charts. The single went on to hit #1 on October 2.

Originally written and recorded with three verses, the newly retitled "Hang On Sloopy" was edited down to two verses for the single and resulting Hang On Sloopy album. The unedited three-verse version, with a length of 3 minutes, 50 seconds, first appeared on the 1970 Bang various artists compilation Bang & Shout Super Hits (BLPS-220), then again on the 1991 Rhino Records various artists compilation Grandson of Frat Rock! Vol. 3 and the 1995 Legacy Recordings compilation Hang On Sloopy: The Best of the McCoys.

The Ohio State University connectionEdit

The song gained an association with Ohio State University after its marching band began playing it at football games; it first played it October 9, 1965, after a staff arranger, John Tatgenhorst, begged the director to try playing it. After finally convincing the director, Tatgenhorst prepared an arrangement and the band played the song in front of the stadium. 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.[citation needed]

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, and is normally played during the transition from the 3rd quarter to the 4th quarter at Ohio Stadium.

At least one source includes a possible connection between the song and Charles J. Givens.[9]

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band also covered this song live in concert at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus in 1999 and on May 2, 2009, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Rick Derringer was still playing it 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. When The Rolling Stones played Ohio Stadium on May 30, 2015, as part of their Zip Code Tour, they included the song on the playlist as a tribute to the local Ohio/Ohio State fans. It has been designated as Ohio's official rock tune.

Other charting versionsEdit

  • Little Caesar and the Consuls released a version of the song in 1965 that reached #50 on the Billboard pop chart.[10]
  • "Hang on Sloopy" 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.[11] It reached #6 on the US R&B chart, #11 on the US pop chart, and #18 on the US adult contemporary chart.[12]
  • A cover in Spanish titled “Es Lupe" by Los Johnny Jets released in 1965 topped the Mexican charts for 13 weeks.[13]
  • Leno e Lilian, a Brazilian vocal duo, released a cover version in Portuguese (“Pobre Menina”) in January 1966 that topped the Brazilian charts. [14]
  • The Lettermen released a version of the song in 1970 that reached #18 on the US adult contemporary chart and #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.[15]
  • Rick Derringer released a version of the song in 1975 that reached #94 on the Billboard Hot 100.[16]
  • The Sandpipers released a version of the song in 1976 that reached #32 on the UK Singles Chart.[17]

Other versionsEdit

Legacy and usesEdit

Official rock song of the state of OhioEdit

Later it became the official rock song of the state of Ohio and The Ohio State University. 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."[21]

Professional sportsEdit

"Hang On Sloopy" is also a signature song for Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians, who play at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, traditionally playing it during the middle of the 8th inning.[22] The song also plays at the end of the 3rd quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium during every Cleveland Browns game, and is also played at Cleveland Cavaliers games at Quicken Loans Arena. During games it is common for fans to yell "O-H-I-O!" following the chorus.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Nick Talevski (May 8, 2006). Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries. Omnibus Press. p. 273. ISBN 9781846090912.
  2. ^ Frank W. Hoffmann (November 1, 2005). Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-Hop. American Popular Music. Facts on File. p. 141. ISBN 9780816073412.
  3. ^ Rick Derringer talks about "Hang On Sloopy", retrieved June 20, 2015.
  4. ^ The Vibrations, "My Girl Sloopy" chart positions, retrieved June 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Liner notes to "The History of Northwest Rock, Vol.2".
  6. ^ Alec Palao, Jim Manolides, (2011-11-13). "James Henry & The Olympics - Seattle, WA (1964-1965)". Retrieved 2016-09-27.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ The McCoys, "Hang On Sloopy" chart positions Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  8. ^ Liner notes to "The Best of The McCoys".
  9. ^ Setzer, Luke. "Lessons from a Dead Millionaire". Basic Manual Speech 7: Apply Your Skills. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  10. ^ Little Caesar and The Consuls, "My Girl Sloopy" chart position Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  11. ^ The McCoys: "Hang On Sloopy", Rock Song From 1965, Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  12. ^ Ramsey Lewis Trio, "Hang on Sloopy" chart positions, Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  13. ^ December 18, 1965 issue of Billboard Magazine; page 36 Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  14. ^ 'No Embalo da Jovem Guarda', 1999, by Ricardo Pugialli. Ampersand editors, RJ, Brazil.
  15. ^ The Lettermen, "Hang on Sloopy" chart positions Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  16. ^ Rick Derringer, "Hang on Sloopy" chart position, Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  17. ^ The Sandpipers, "Hang on Sloopy" chart position, Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  18. ^ "Hang on Sloopy". Youtube. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  19. ^ Billboard June 8, 1968 Album Reviews Page 42 R&B Tighten Up - Benny Gordon & The Soul Brothers. Hot Biscuit Disc ST 9100 (S)
  20. ^ "Show 50 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library". Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  21. ^ "Ohio's State Rock Song - Hang On Sloopy - Ohio History Central". Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  22. ^ "Stadium Songs: Cleveland Indians". Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "Ohio State University celebrates 50 years of 'Hang on Sloopy'". September 7, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2017.


  • 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.