Song of the Week – My Girl Sloopy, The Vibrations & Hang On Sloopy, The McCoys and The Ramsey Lewis Trio

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Today’s SotW is an installment in the ongoing Evolution Series. The pick hit is “Hang on Sloopy.”

Everyone is familiar with the #1 hit version released by The McCoys, led by the 16-year-old Rick Zehringer (aka Derringer), in 1965.

But how many of you are aware that the song was first released under the title “My Girl Sloopy” by the LA based R&B group, The Vibrations, in 1964? Here it is!

Now back to The McCoys recording. The #1 hit was a 3 minute version that had two verses (“Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town” and “Sloopy let your hair down girl, let it hang down on me”). But that was an edited take. The full recording, with the third verse (“Sloopy wears a red dress, yeah, as old as the hills”) has been released on several compilations. Now you can hear it.

Although its lightweight lyric and infectious, sing-along chorus render it close to a novelty number. “… Sloopy” has been recorded by many other groups over the years, including rock, soul, jazz and indie rock artists.

One of my favorites is the lounge jazz rendition by The Ramsey Lewis Trio.

It was released on an album called Hang on Ramsey!, and the song won a Grammy in 1974 in the category Best R&B Instrumental Performance. It’s a live disc that sounds like it was recorded at a party. People sing along to the chorus. I don’t think he had any background singers, so it must be the audience that’s having all the fun.

“… Sloopy” holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the songs I sang with the band at my wedding so many years ago. It is also in the set list for our family band – The Big Swinging Dorazios.

Enjoy… until next week.

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