About The Song

“Hang On Sloopy” was a No. 1 hit record for The McCoys in 1965. Who? “They were really a kind of a one-hit wonder,’’ said Meredith Rutledge, assistant curator of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. But then the Ohio State band began to play a brass, instrumental arrangement of the song that very autumn at Buckeyes’ football games in Columbus. The song caught on with the fans, who sang along with the “Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on’’ chorus.

Twenty years later, the General Assembly of Ohio formally resolved that “Hang on Sloopy’’ would from then on and forever into eternity be “The Official Rock Song of the State of Ohio.’’

“Whereas,’’ the legislators declared, “`Hang on Sloopy’ is of particular relevance to members of the Baby Boom Generation . . . ‘’ It’s a short song about a young man’s love for a young woman from different socioeconomic circumstances. Hey, it was the 1960s; like everything then, it had meaning.

Now, in the year 2007, “Sloopy” is often heard at Jacobs Field in Cleveland during Indians’ games. The fans love it and have taken to chanting the letters “O! H! I! O!’’ in cadence to the chorus.

“And everyone does the hand motions, too, for `O-h-i-o,’ just like people do `Y.M.C.A.’ for the Village People,’’ said Annie Merovich, manager of in-game entertainment for the Indians. “We’re proud of where we are. It has had a tremendous response.’’

Merovich said the Indians do not play the song for every home game and they don’t play it at the same time the way the Red Sox play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline’’ every game in the eighth inning at Fenway Park.

The Indians played it Thursday night when they defeated the Yankees by 12-3 in the first game of theAmerican League divisional series. It’s a possibility for Game 2.

Merovich said Ryan Pritt, the music coordinator at Jacobs Field, selects the right moment for “Sloopy’’ to inject “pace and feeling and to energize the crowd.’’ She said they played it every game during a late-season series against the Tigers and earlier in the season band members from Ohio State came up from Columbus to play a live version for a series against the Reds.

Rutledge, from the Hall of Fame, said information about “Sloopy’’ is part of a display at the Hall involving Ohio music. She said Ohioans claim the McCoys, led by Rick Derringer, are an Ohio band, although fans in the neighboring state of Indiana insist that the band was formed there.

The McCoys were not the first band to record “Sloopy,’’ she said. The Vibrations recorded the song in 1964 on Atlantic and it was a Top 30 hit. The song was recorded in 1966, she said, by both The Kingsmen and The Supremes.

Paul O’Neill, an Ohio native who played for both the Reds and the Yankees and now works as a commentator for the YES network, said before Friday’s game that he enjoys “Sloopy.’’

When asked if he could recite the lyrics, O’Neill got a studious look on his face, thought for a moment and said: “Sloopy lives on the other side of town? O.K.?’’



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