Found Performance: “Hang On Sloopy” w/ Lisa Leonard Dalton

Update: On November 21, 2022 Rick Derringer provided the answer fans had been waiting for. He confirmed on his Facebook page that Lisa was the dancer in his viral online “Hang On Sloopy” video. At QZVX we knew that all along, but now it is 100% — Lisa Leonard Dalton danced in Rick’s 1975 music video.

Who was the “Sloopy Girl” dancer? Answer: Lisa Leonard Dalton (above). In Nov. 2022, Rick Derringer told his Facebook fans that Lisa was the dancing girl in his 1975 “Hang on Sloopy” video! British socialite and party planner Liz Brewer had nothing to do with it, in spite of a silly online rumor. 

Here’s the original information, including recent updates, that accompanied this article when it was published in May 2020:

As a kid, living in the NW corner of Washington State, I had great reception of Canadian radio stations. Those of us looking for an AM Top-40 radio station in 1965 and ’66 often heard the sound of  C-FUN out of Vancouver, BC. The intro to this video harks back to those days.

Hang On Sloopy” was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1965. Other records by The McCoys that received significant radio airplay included “Fever,” “Sorrow,” and “Come On Let’s Go.” Rick Derringer also produced records and played lead guitar with Edgar and Johnny Winter in the 1970s. He had a solo hit with “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo” in 1974 (Billboard Hot 100 peak position #23).

Usually I post a very early rendition of a “Found Performance.” This is an exception. I have located two 1965 appearances by the original “McCoys.” But the video I chose is from 1975 and it will get your attention. It has an 80 million strong fan base.

Lisa Leonard Dalton, Sloopy Girl, dated Hollywood actor Dennis Cole.

Former McCoys’ vocalist, Rick Derringer, was filming a new music film to promote a remake of his former band’s hit single “Hang On Sloopy.” It wasn’t the new 1975 incarnation of the decade old song that got the attention of the fans. It was the blond dancing girl. The premise was that during the film shoot, a gorgeous girl would stroll by and spontaneously break into a sexy and captivating dance routine.

It didn’t take much of a detective work to debunk that theory. Girls like this don’t just wander down the street into a film set. This girl was obviously no ordinary passerby. After a decade of rumors, and one British woman, with zero connection to Derringer or the dance, trying to hint around that she had some connection to Derringer. In 2021 t was revealed that Lisa Leonard Dalton, an American, is the authentic Sloopy Girl.

The urban legend that the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer was the British party planner, or that she had been married to singer Rick Derringer, were discredited. If you’ve heard that false rumor, then you need to see “Sloopy Wives-Fact and Fiction” (Read it HERE ).  The meticulously documented article answers the questions: How old are these ladies and who was actually married to Rick Derringer? At the time of her 1975 performance Lisa Leonard Dalton was 19 years old. A California girl, she came to the attention of the filmmakers when she won the 1974 dance competition at Gazzarri’s, a popular Hollywood nightclub. For anyone with any remaining interest in Brewer, the answers to some of the questions that inevitably come up about her can be found in the British Newspaper Archives. (Click HERE to view an assortment of clippings).

Several music tracks have accompanied this 1975 video in its online life. In my original video below, I had edited into the video the 1965 hit version of “Hang On Sloopy.” I later regretted doing that: It was nearly impossible to get a good lip sync with the singer, because the two versions of the song were so different. But, the bigger issue was it created confusion. A number of online videos include the old 1965 song dubbed over the 1975 dance video. Part of the mistaken identity can be traced to viewers thinking the video was filmed ten years earlier than it actually was. In fact, the 1975 version of  “Hang On Sloopy” that should go with the video was a reggae cover with steel drums and a marimba. The reggae cover of “Hang On Sloopy” came out on Rick Derringer’s 1975 album “Spring Fever” and at that time the “Sloopy” track was also, once again, released as a 45 RPM single.

 In researching this project, I came across a family photo of Lisa Leonard Dalton dating back to 2010. I knew that her facial expression was familiar to me. Sure enough, her expression and appearance perfectly matched the “Sloopy Girl” dancer. Nobody needs facial recognition software to realize that even 35 years later, this is the same woman. To read the story of the search for “Sloopy Girl,” check out “Deconstructing a Myth: Sloopy Girl.” You can watch it by clicking HERE

Living Proof: Showing off that “Sloopy Girl” smile. Lisa Leonard Dalton in 2010.

Editorial Update (Feb. 2022)

Lisa Leonard Dalton appeared in an on-camera interview in January 2022. It is the first in a series of several short video interviews. To watch “Up-Close & Personal in Tennessee” click HERE.

When the Deconstructing a Myth video was released in summer 2021 it went viral. Shortly afterwards, YouTube Channels and entertainment websites updated their information to reflect that Lisa Leonard Dalton is the authentic “Sloopy Girl.” The narrative has certainly changed. When entering Lisa Leonard Dalton’s name in a search engine, it’s readily apparent that she now has a strong online presence as the mysterious “Hang on Sloopy” dancer. To learn more about our discovery that Lisa Leonard Dalton is the Sloopy Girl, please click HERE.

Overwhelmingly, thousands of “Sloopy Girl” fans embraced the truth. They asked Lisa to share current photos and to record a cell phone video. On November 5, 2021, Lisa accommodated those requests. While attending a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Knoxville, two of Lisa’s friends took some pictures and she recorded a video greeting. Two of the new photos are included below. To watch Lisa Leonard Dalton’s new video, called November Night in Tennessee, please click HERE.

“Sloopy Girl,” Lisa Leonard Dalton, the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer. (Nov. 5, 2021 photo)
“Hang On Sloopy” dancer, Lisa Leonard Dalton (left) with friend. (Nov. 5, 2021)


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Author: Steven Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with QZVX.COM in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions. View other articles by Steven Smith
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