Dorothy “Dottie” Sloop (1913 – 1998)
There’s a bizarre history to that familiar song credited to The McCoys, and it traces to Dorothy Sloop of Steubenville Ohio who became a New Orleans singer and piano player with the stage name “Sloopy.” The song was originally recorded by The Vibrations in 1963, predating the McCoys’ version:
So how did a 60s soul group from LA decide to sing about a girl who moved to New Orleans?
“Sloopy” was Dorothy Sloop, a Bourbon Street piano player. Born Sept. 26, 1913, in Steubenville, she performed at a New Orleans nightspot under the stage name Sloopy.
‘Hang on Sloopy’ was written by Bert Russell Berns and Wes Farrell, two New York City songwriters. Berns also wrote The Isley Brothers and Beatles hit Twist and Shout. Farrell went on to become the musical brains behind the Partridge Family.
The song was originally recorded as My Girl Sloopy by the Los Angeles R&B vocal group the Vibrations. It debuted in April 1964 in the Top 40 of the Billboard pop chart, where it spent five weeks and reached No. 26.
A rock version, ‘Hang on Sloopy,’ was recorded by the McCoys, a Dayton garage band led by Celina native Rick Zehringer. Locally, the band was known as Rick and the Raiders, but it changed its name to avoid confusion with chart-toppers Paul Revere and the Raiders. Hang On Sloopy debuted in September 1965 in the Top 40 of the Billboard pop chart, where it spent 11 weeks and reached No. 1.
Rick Zehringer later changed his name to Rick Derringer and became one of the top rock guitarists and producers of the 1970s. He recorded with the Edgar Winter Group and scored a 1974 solo hit with Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo. [More at this source]
“Dottie” Sloop recorded an album, “Sloopy Time” Featuring Dixie and Sloopy, in 1957 with Yvonne “Dixie” Fasnacht, a jazz vocalist and clarinetist.
“Dixie” Fasnacht operated a bar called Dixie’s Bar of Music on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It was there that Dorothy’s acquaintance and co-writer of “Hang On Sloopy” Bert Berns-Russell found the inspiration for the song. During problems with the sound equipment and a crowd getting rowdy, he heard a regular call out to her “Hang on, Sloopy!” [Source]
I couldn’t find a recording of either Dottie Sloop or Yvonne “Dixie” Fasnacht, but there has to be a copy of the album in someone’s basement somewhere. One more piece of trivia: Ohio is the only State to have an Official State Rock Song.
The Best Damn Band In The Land adopted “Hang On Sloopy” as a signature song for the times when OSU was down a few points, and their a capella version is classic.
Have a great holiday weekend, folks.