Interpreting "Hang On, Sloopy"

This is the song composed by Wes Farrell and Bert Berns, first recorded by the Vibrations in 1964 and popularized by the McCoys with the lead vocals by Rick Derringer in 1965, and which has been a weekly tradition of the O.S.U. marching band for 50 years.

Is it about an interracial relationship? What do you think?

It’s about a relationship with someone from a poor family. It could be interracial, but doesn’t have to be. He doesn’t say “I don’t care about your skin color”, he says “I don’t care what your daddy do”. (We can forgive “do” instead of “does” because “does” doesn’t rhyme.)

Well, according to the video the McCoys made, it meant she was this outrageously curvy hippie chick shaking what the good lord gave her: Kinda NSFW in a lacivious sorta way.

Never got this song. Given my age and the sequence I heard things, I always heard it as so deivative of Louie Louie - which was itself so-garage-rock-cliche-it-works - that I never paid attention to it except as a starting point for Derringer, who was respected in the guitar scene as a player and gear head. Well, till I saw that video here on the Dope.

What video? It showed him up as a phony guitarist?

Sorry I was so unclear: I didn’t care about the song until I saw the video. I had ignored the song except for knowing how it was in RD’s background, who remains respected.

The video was staged so they are all miming, but that’s no big deal. I just tangled my sentences.

There’s nothing lascivious about it. It’s an attractive girl in shorts and a top dancing very simply and naturally.

But, sweet sister of Cytheria, that performance is hotter than anything I’ve seen a naked person do!!!

Yeah, if she dances like that, I don’t care what her daddy do, either.

It seems there’s long been a rumor that it was Marilyn Chambers, but that’s probably not true. Best I can find out, it’s Elizabeth Brewer (Liz Derringer), a music journalist and publicist, who was married to Rick Derringer when the video was made in 1975.

And, hey, the McCoys got their first regular gig in my home town, Dayton!

I saw Rick Derringer at a the Day on the Green, July 7 1977 when Led Zep headlined.

I also saw him at the UC Davis coffee shop (that help about 60 people) maybe 1982. Rick did a standard rock star guitar solo with head thrown back kinda orgasmically. Someone in the audience shouted “That old fuck can still play”, Rick heard it. put down his guitar, walked off, and that was it for the night. FWIW

He stopped the concert because he thought it was an insult?

If the guys that own this song could have collected from every garage band that played it in the day, they’d be richer than Bill Gates.

If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest you listen to David Porter’s 11-minute cover of the song. Its lyrics don’t leave much need for interpretation.

From what I could find, it is Liz Brewer, a well-known groupie at the time, but not The same Liz as Liz Derringer.

Sloopy is, maybe, from the projects, some very poor part of town. Her family is like trailer trash, her ‘daddy’ is a known loser - a druggie, a drug dealer, or in jail. She’s from a squalid background. The singer of the song is a better-off suburban kid, maybe a sports type, probably headed for college. Sloopy is one of those girls who is destined to get knocked up and drop out and have several baby-daddies, but dang it! He is in LOVE with her!

Actually, I’m not getting anything definitive. I’m finding a couple sources on message boards saying these are different people. Also finding some saying that the woman in the video is Liz Derringer, his first wife. Can’t find anything I would mark as trustworthy yet.

Yeah, if you read this article and the comments, the identity of the woman appears to be a subject of some debate.

She’s Patches’ sister.

Actually, she’s the fisherman’s daughter from the Every Mother’s Son song Come on Down to My Boat. In that song the band points out that no one knows her name, so obviously “Sloopy” became her nickname because she lives on a fishing sloop.

She got around a lot back then. In Billy Joe Royal’s Cherry Hill Park she was identified as “Mary Hill,” who thrilled the boys 'til way after dark, but finally went away when a man with money said “come on, honey.” Johnny Rivers revealed that she finally came back to the Poor Side of Town.

The Tommy Westphall universe is nothing compared to '60s music!

And hen you left too early. He came back later with Frank Zappa (who was playing another venue in town) and tore the place down.

And BTW, the dancer in that video is considered “curvy”?

I was wondering about that, too. I think “curvy” is being used as a euphemism for “buxom” there.