Subscribe to Patreon for Exclusive Content
The original members were all from Union City; however, the Zehringer boys were initially from Fort Recovery, Ohio.. The band members were guitarist and lead singer Richard Zehringer (later known as Rick Derringer), his brother Randy (later known as Randy Z) on drums, and bassist Dennis Kelly. This first line-up was known as The Rick Z Combo, and later known as Rick and the Raiders. When Kelly left for college, the Zehringers were joined by bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, saxophonist Sean Michaels, and keyboardist Ronnie Brandon. This was the line-up that took the name of "The McCoys". Brandon left the group in 1965 and was replaced by Bobby Peterson on keyboards.
Their best-known hit is "Hang On Sloopy", which was #1 in the US in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October 1965 and is the official rock song of the state of Ohio. It also is the unofficial fight song of the Ohio State University Buckeyes and can be heard being played at many Ohio State athletic events by the OSU bands. Sales of the single in the US alone were over one million copies. Other hits include a top 10 cover of "Fever" (Billboard #7) and a top 40 cover of Richie Valens "Come On, Let's Go" (Billboard #21).
A cover of "Sorrow, the B side of their version of "Fever", was a hit in the United Kingdom for The Merseys and later covered by David Bowie. Its opening line, "with your long blonde hair and eyes of blue" was quoted by George Harrison in the fadeout of "It's All Too Much", featured on the 1969 soundtrack of Yellow Submarine.
"The McCoys" performed as part of Murray the K's Christmas show on December 18,1965 at the Brooklyn Fox Theater. Also performing on the program were Peter & Gordon, Wilson Pickett, The Fortunes, The Moody Blues, The Toys, Lenny Welch, Cannibal and the Headhunters, The Vibrations, The Spinners, The O'Jays, Bloodless Revolutionaries, Patti Michaels, Bobby Diamond,and Diane Langan.
The McCoys were being labeled as a pop act, much to the disdain of the band. In 1967, after the death of Bert Berns, The McCoys broke free from Bang Records, in hopes of recording more serious music. They ended up signing a deal with Mercury Records and recorded their last two records, Infinite McCoys (1968), and Human Ball (1969) for the label.
The two Zehringer brothers (then known as Rick Derringer and Randy Z) and Hobbs became Johnny Winter's band for the albums Johnny Winter And and Live Johnny Winter And in 1970 and 1971 respectively. At first, the band was supposed to be called Johnny Winter & The McCoys, but was changed due to management warning Winter about their bubblegum past, and how it could hurt his reputation as a serious musician. As backing musicians, both Derringer and Hobbs contributed to Winter's later releases Still Alive and Well (1973), Saints & Sinners (1974), and John Dawson Winter III (1974). Derringer and Hobbs later played with Edgar Winter as well as appeared on Together: Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter Live (1976). Hobbs later toured with Johnny Winter, but without Derringer, on Winter's Captured Live! (1976). Derringer also played with Steely Dan and Cyndi Lauper and formed bands such as DNA, with drummer Carmine Appice.
Hang On Sloopy was a smash hit, #1 when "Yesterday" by The Beatles was #2 for a period of time in 1965.
Was inspired by the icon of Bang records and changed his name to Derringer, from the image of the derringer gun on the Bang record label.
The McCoys were the house band at the STEVE PAUL'S, THE SCENE club in NYC
where they jammed with everyone including Jimi Hendrix. They eventually became Johnny Winter And
and then Rick joined Edgar Winter's White Trash and then Edgar Winter Group.
They had screaming girls and limo rides. They were in a hotel room somewhere watching The Huntley-Brinkley Report. They were talking about how the Soviet Union was playing rock-n-roll. They showed the Kremlin with loudspeakers — and blasting out of them was "Hang On, Sloopy."
Classic Hang on Sloopy
Great Original footage!