Hang On Sloopy

Last updated
"My Girl Sloopy"
Single by the Vibrations
B-side "Daddy Woo Woo"
Released1964 (1964)
Genre R&B
Label Atlantic

"Hang On Sloopy" (originally "My Girl Sloopy") is a 1964 song written by Wes Farrell and Bert Berns. Rhythm and blues vocal group the Vibrations were the first to record the tune in 1964. Atlantic Records released it as a single, which reached No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. [1]


The song became standard fare for garage bands and, in 1965, it became one of the first songs recorded by the Yardbirds with guitarist Jeff Beck. A version by the rock group the McCoys was the most successful, when it reached number one in the singles chart. [2] Recordings by additional artists also reached the charts, including versions in Spanish and Portuguese.

The original version of Sloopy was written by a "high school kid in St. Louis" and sold to Bert Russell, also known as Bert Berns, according to Rick Derringer of the McCoys. [3] By one account, the inspiration for the song was Dorothy Sloop, a jazz singer from Steubenville, Ohio, and a student at Ohio University. [4]

McCoys version

"Hang On Sloopy"
The McCoys.jpg
Single by the McCoys
B-side "I Can't Explain It"
ReleasedJuly 1965 (1965-07)
Studio Bell Sound (New York City) [5]
Genre Garage rock [6] [7]
Label Bang
The McCoys singles chronology
"Hang On Sloopy"

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' 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 (and provided backing) for the Strangeloves in July in Dayton, Ohio. [8] The Strangeloves, three writer-producers from Brooklyn, New York City, recruited Rick and the Raiders to record the song under their name. Their 16-year-old leader, Rick Zehringer, was flown to Bell Sound Studios in 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 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. It reached the top position on October 2.

Originally written and recorded with three verses, the retitled "Hang On Sloopy" was edited down to two verses for the single and resulting Hang On Sloopy album. The unedited three-verse version, at 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 Yardbirds

In 1964, Eric Clapton, who was then lead guitarist for the Yardbirds, introduced the group to the Vibration's "My Girl Sloopy". [9] Before they could record the tune, however, Clapton left the group. During his second recording session on April 13, 1965, with the Yardbirds, new guitarist Jeff Beck and the group recorded the song at the Advision Studios in London. [10] Their 5:36 rendition was considered unusual for a studio recording at the time; AllMusic's Bruce Eder called it "the first extended jam to emerge on record from a band on the British blues scene". [11] Group chronicler Greg Russo also commented on the group's "humorous take [in which they] used out of control vocal buildups", which was part of their live performances, such as at the fifth Richmond National Jazz and Blues Festival on August 6. [12]

When looking for material for the Yardbirds' first American album, manager Giorgio Gomelsky included "My Girl Sloppy" and two other tracks recorded at Advision with Beck. [12] The hastily produced album was released on July 5, 1965, to generate interest for the group's upcoming first US tour. On August 11, the three songs formed the Yardbirds' first extended play (EP) release in the UK, where it reached number two on the record chart. [12]

Other charting versions

Ohio State University

The song gained an association with Ohio State University after its marching band began playing it at football games. It first played the song 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. [19] After the crowd reaction, the band began to play it at every game. The song is traditionally played during the transition from the 3rd quarter to the 4th quarter [20] at Ohio Stadium. Since then, "Sloopy" has been appearing on the band's CDs and was available as a free download on its website. [21] A vocal performance excerpt is also available for download on the university's website. [22]

Home games of professional sports teams throughout Ohio also feature the song. 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 covered this song live in concert at the university's Schottenstein Center in 1999. When the Rolling Stones played Ohio Stadium on May 30, 2015, as part of their Zip Code Tour, they also performed the song.

Official rock song of the state of Ohio

Later it became the official rock song of the state of Ohio and 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 he subsequently wrote a series of tongue-in-cheek columns. He even registered as a lobbyist for the resolution. Dirck played bass guitar in rock bands and 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: [23]

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

Professional sports

"Hang On Sloopy" is also a signature song for Major League Baseball's Cleveland Guardians, who play at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, typically played during the middle of the 8th inning. [24] 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 Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. During games it is common for fans to yell "O-H-I-O!" following the chorus. [25]

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  2. Hicks 2000, p. 37.
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  4. Joy, Kevin (September 26, 2013). "Mystery surrounds Steubenville native who inspired 'Hang On Sloopy'". The Columbus Dispatch . Retrieved September 8, 2020.
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  8. Liner notes to The Best of The McCoys
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  10. Russo 2016, p. 36–37.
  11. Eder 2003, p. 631.
  12. 1 2 3 Russo 2016, p. 37.
  13. "RPM Top 40 Singles - August 16, 1965" (PDF).
  14. "RPM Top 40 Singles - November 22, 1965" (PDF).
  15. "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard . December 18, 1965. p. 36. Retrieved March 3, 2016 via Google Books.
  16. 'No Embalo da Jovem Guarda', 1999, by Ricardo Pugialli. Ampersand editors, RJ, Brazil.
  17. "RPM Top 100 Singles - May 10, 1975" (PDF).
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  20. "Traditions: Hang On Sloopy". osumarchingband.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. "Hang On Sloopy". tbdbitl.osu.edu. The Ohio State University. Archived from the original on January 16, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  22. "Hang-on-Sloopy.mp3". OSU.edu. The Ohio State University. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  23. "Ohio's State Rock Song - Hang On Sloopy". ohiohistorycentral.org. Ohio History Central. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  24. "Stadium Songs: Cleveland Indians". Espn.com. 25 July 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  25. "Ohio State University celebrates 50 years of 'Hang on Sloopy'". Fox8.com. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. September 7, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2017.


See also