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The McCoys - Hang On Sloopy: The Best Of The McCoys album review

When The Dave Clark Five postponed recording a surefire hit, The McCoys got real

Cover art for The McCoys - Hang On Sloopy: The Best Of The McCoys

If you’re going to be a one-hit wonder, you might as well do it with a song that’s as hard to dislike – and as woven into rock’s DNA – as Hang On Sloopy. Its co-writer Bert Berns also half-wrote Twist And Shout, so he couldn’t have done more to pinpoint rock’n’roll’s primitive shapes unless he’d written Louie Louie too. Sloopy’s other co-author, Wes Farrell, went on to mastermind the music for the Partridge Family.

The McCoys, for their part, may have had moptops and Beatle suits, but they didn’t have a David Cassidy (or a Davy Jones), and their follow-ups to the runaway success of Sloopy soon ran out of steam. One listen here to their lacklustre, insipid versions of such can’t-go-wrong standards as Fever and Sorrow shows you why. Still, they’ll always have Sloopy, the 1965 chart-topper which offers a pop textbook in how to build and tease the excitement of release.

Later, as this patchy but intriguing collection shows, The McCoys went a little bit garagepsych. By the end of the 60s their singer-guitarist was playing with Johnny and Edgar Winter. In the new decade he started his next life as Rick Derringer.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.