Some things just keep… hanging on.
The girl (or guy) you asked out to the movie, and end up spending the rest of your life with.
The spunky puppy you saw in a shopping mall window, and made an impulse decision to take home.
The simplistic but catchy rock song you heard as a kid on the radio, and still play 55 years later.
HANG ON SLOOPY
Written by “a high school kid in St. Louis,” the iconic rock tune, Hang On Sloopy, was initially recorded and released by The Vibrations in 1964 as “My Girl Sloopy,” and essentially went nowhere. For most songs, that’s game over.
In 1965 it was re-recorded by “The McCoys,” retitled “Hang on Sloopy,” and quickly skyrocketed to #1 in America on the Billboard Hot 100.
Most hit songs have a moment in the sun, and then done. Not Sloopy.
In the fall of 1965 a music arranger for the Ohio State University Marching Band begged the band director to play the song at a home football game. He created a killer arrangement, and the band performed the song in front of the crowd.
Initially the reaction wasn’t great, BUT here’s a quote from the Ohio State Marching Band website:
“Fans at first were not entirely enthusiastic about the tune, partially due to the inclement weather occurring when it was performed. However, later in the game and at the following home games, the fans demanded “We want ‘Sloopy!”’
Now, 55 years later, Sloopy is still hanging on, being performed before the 4th quarter of every Ohio State Buckeye home football game.
How many states adopt official rock songs? I could find only two… Washington adopted “Louie, Louie” as its official song in 1985. When an Ohio congressman learned what Washington was about to do, he proposed the following Resolution to the Ohio legislature:
“WHEREAS, “Hang On Sloopy” is of particular relevance to members of the baby boom generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously…”
“WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the State anything, or affect the quality of life in this State to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff.
On November 20, 1985 Hang on Sloopy became the official rock song of Ohio (my birthplace).
You’d think reaching #1 in the nation, becoming the official song of a major college band, then 20 years later becoming the official rock song of a state would be enough “hanging on” legacy.
But Sloopy keeps hanging on.
It’s now an official song of major league baseball’s Cleveland Indians.
It’s played at Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball games.
It’s played before the 4th quarter of Cleveland Browns football games.
Recently we’ve adopted an array of practices most hope DON’T hang on:
Face masks. Elbow shakes. Social distance.
Like with Sloopy, you never know what might hang on.
Will face masks become fashionable?
Will handshakes remain dangerous?
Will Netflix supplant parties?
I won’t predict that but I will suggest this:
Hang on… if life were predictable it wouldn’t be life.
– Greg Hague
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