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.