Deconstructing A Myth: “Sloopy Girl” Lisa Leonard Dalton

Rick Derringer verified that Lisa Leonard Dalton was the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer on his Facebook page in Nov. 2022!

Update: On Nov. 21, 2022 Rick Derringer had the answer to a question his fans had been waiting for. On Facebook he stated that Lisa was the dancer in his famous 1975 “Hang On Sloopy” video. At QZVX we already knew that, but now it is 100% for everyone else: Lisa Leonard Dalton is the one and only “Sloopy Girl” dancer in Rick Derringer’s viral online video.

Lisa Leonard Dalton. The “Hang On Sloopy” dancer in 1975.

A short music film, we would call it a music video today, was shot in 1975. Rick Derringer updated “Hang on Sloopy,” a song that had been a #1 hit for his band The McCoys a decade before. Those of us in the category of former radio deejays will remember the Sloopy tune. The big hit was in 1965, but the film shoot from ’75 has turned into an online sensation. The covers of the same song, along with other versions performed by Rick Derringer over the years, have created confusion. For those persons who wish to investigate this further, the reggae version of “Hang On Sloopy came out on Rick Derringer’s 1975 album called Spring Fever and the Sloopy track was also released as a single at that time. The main attraction, more so than the cover of the earlier hit, was the mysterious and previously unidentified “Hang On Sloopy” dancing girl.

Various versions of the video appear on YouTube and social media. It has been viewed by more than 80 million people around the world and that number grows daily (Click HERE to watch it). “Sloopy Girl’s” true identity had remained a mystery until September 2021. The theories had been widespread, inaccurate and some of them bordering on delusional. They had been based on gossip, online rumors, mislabeled photos, all in all wrong information, urban legends and myths. That situation has changed.

Physical similarity in ’75: Lisa Leonard Dalton is the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer.

The story of the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer must be told by Lisa Leonard Dalton. She was a teenager, living in LA (Woodland Hills) with her parents, when she appeared as “Sloopy Girl.” Lisa has provided photo evidence, a believable timeline, and more than a dozen witnesses support her claim of being the authentic “Sloopy” dancing girl. Those witnesses include her former male dance partner in the ’70s, her high school classmates, many other friends and all of her close relatives who grew up with Lisa. Now photos of Lisa in her youth are available online.

This documentary video below is based on research completed in the span of more than a year at QZVX. It is narrated by Gary “Shannon” Burleigh, one of the great Pacific NW Top-40 radio voices of the 1960’s and ’70s. Lisa’s story is told with a backdrop of the sights, sounds and pop culture of the musically diverse 1970s. At QZVX our only goal was to collect evidence, to verify facts, and to preserve this moment in Rock ‘n’ Roll history.

The video has been posted at YouTube, because of the site’s huge international audience. This project is completely nonprofit and noncommercial. However, YouTube monetizes all videos. Any ad revenue YouTube collects from this video will be retained by YouTube and, as applicable, split with copyright holders. None of the proceeds from views of this video are distributed to QZVX or any persons affiliated with this production.

Lisa Leonard Dalton, “Sloopy Girl,” in Knoxville, TN (2021)

Addendum 2022: Since this author became involved with the “Sloopy Girl” saga, various videos and posts that I have written or been involved with now total about 8 million views. Add in the rest of the “Sloopy Girl” universe (dozens of videos and articles online) and that number of “Sloopy” views reaches in excess of 80 million. QZVX is staying on top of this story.

Lisa Leonard Dalton (2021 photo)

Originally, the plan was to publish one long interview with Lisa Leonard Dalton. Then “Sloopy Girl” fans let it be known they wanted to see lots of Lisa on-camera. They asked that she appear in person instead of having to read about her. Lisa is in Tennessee and I am in Washington State, so it is not like we can just get together: We agreed to conduct interviews by Zoom. Caveat: I was a radio guy, not a TV type, but for this project I will be the interviewer. Research shows that online viewers prefer short videos to marathon sessions. Therefore, Lisa and I will be doing a series of different interviews, but they will all be quite short.

The first of those interviews is available below. Up-Close & Personal in Tennessee was shot in early January 2022, so as I write this addendum it is very recent.

When the reveal video Deconstructing a Myth was released in summer 2021 it went viral. The truth changed the narrative of the “Sloopy Girl” story, with almost all YouTube channels and significant websites, including Wikipedia, Songfacts and Answers.com now reporting that Lisa Leonard Dalton is the authentic “Sloopy Girl.” When entering Lisa Leonard Dalton’s name in a search engine these days, it’s readily apparent that she is now recognized as the authentic “Hang On Sloopy” dancer. If you’ve heard the old tired rumor that a lady named Liz was the dancer, then check out our meticulously documented article “Sloopy Wives-Fact and Fiction” (Read it HERE ). Furthermore, a number of curious people, who’ve been tracking this case of mistaken identity, have asked what Liz Brewer in the UK (who had nothing to do with the Sloopy dance) has been doing from the 1960s on. Some of those answers can be found in the British Newspaper Archives. QZVX has collected several stories, many of them with vintage photos of Liz Brewer (Click HERE to view those newspaper files). In an interesting coincidence, in 2010, a family photographer took a photo of Lisa’s “Sloopy Girl” smile at a family event. When I saw that photo, it reminded me of a picture of the “Sloopy Girl” dancer in an identical pose. Side by side, a person doesn’t need facial recognition software to realize this is the same woman, be it 35 years later.

Undisputed Truth: Lisa Leonard Dalton still had that winning smile 35 years later (in 2010).

Overwhelmingly, thousands of “Sloopy Girl” fans embraced the truth. Along with requesting interviews such as the one above, they asked Lisa to share more current photos and to record a cell phone video. That video preceded the first interview: On November 5, 2021, while attending a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert in Knoxville, two of Lisa’s friends took pictures and she recorded a video greeting. To watch Lisa Leonard Dalton’s pre-concert video, called November Night in Tennessee, click  HERE.

Below are a couple more recent and candid photos of “Sloopy Girl” Lisa Leonard Dalton. And since this article was written, Lisa Leonard Dalton has added a number of videos to her YouTube channel. Check out the content at her “Sloopy Girl” channel by clicking HERE.

Lisa Leonard Dalton, the “Hang On Sloopy Girl,” (Dec. 2021 photo)
“Sloopy Girl” Lisa Leonard Dalton (from her Jan. 2022 interview)

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

30 thoughts on “Deconstructing A Myth: “Sloopy Girl” Lisa Leonard Dalton

  1. Lisa still the bomb today sloppy still my favorite video and I see thousands I was only 5 when she made video fell in love if I could only turn back time

    1. Bradley…the Leonard girls are very pretty. I have a photo of Lisa and her sister Lori when Lisa was only 5 years old. She was a cute little blonde girl even preschool age. If you have not seen it, this week she put out a video revealing the identity of the Hollywood studio where the Sloopy dance with Rick was shot back in 1975. it is at her Sloopy Girl YouTube channel.

    1. Victor…she is still dancing for fun. Who knows? Maybe someday. I am sure if the opportunity arose she would dance with you. Lisa is a very nice lady. She is now realizing what a big impact her Sloopy dance had on her generation. If you have yet to do so check out her Sloopy Girl YouTube channel….several recent videos with modern day Lisa answering questions and being down to earth and charming.

  2. This has been an ongoing adventure. The Deconstructing a Myth video, the two official copies on YouTube, have now gained over 1.1 million views. This has also been a hot topic at QZVX. A noteworthy event tonight, Rick Derringer replied at his Facebook page that the first name of the dancer in the Sloopy dance video was “Lisa.” That is the first time he has given an answer to the much asked question. As we have always pointed out, Rick and Lisa met only briefly. But his positive affirmation negated any old arguments that the dancer was his ex-wife Liz Derringer or the high profile Brit socialite Liz Brewer. Lisa Leonard Dalton is the Sloopy dancer.

  3. I love the song and thanks to YouTube; I have seen my first video clip of Hang On Sloopy by the MaCoys…oh, and the young lady dancing is not only beautiful, she certainly knows her moves: Lovely.

    1. Lisa Leonard Dalton made the video. But to clarify, the version of the song that became an online sensation was the 1975 cover by Rick Derringer less the McCoys. The guys in the video with Lisa and Rick were a band he put together for the cover released on his Spring Fever album….again less the McCoys. Unfortunately many of the online versions of the dance are factually confusing…wrong audio track, wrong date, wrong spelling, crediting the MaCoys vs. McCoys and the fact the McCoys had disbanded by 1975. Rick was a 17 year old kid and leader of the McCoys when the original 1965 hit single was recorded. The music is very different. In the 1975 version, if the video has the true soundtrack, a tin drum and tympani were added to give it a reggae feel. Lisa was in grade school when the first Sloopy was released. She was 19 when she was strutting her stuff on the Hollywood movie set in 1975. That video went viral about 10 years ago….35 years after it was filmed. I can say first hand that Lisa is a very nice and down to earth lady. I am glad we took the time at Puget Sound Media to cut through all the misinformation and to identify her as the one and only Sloopy Girl. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Fell in love with her first time heard and watched song🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. Rolando…Lisa Leonard Dalton’s next interview…coming soon…will finally reveal specifically the name of the backlot studio where the dance video was shot. She has been holding that info close to her chest, but with Rick Derringer now verifying publicly that she was the dancer, Lisa feels comfortable supplying the finite details. The reveal will include photo proof.

  5. Jason…I was adding up today total views my Sloopy Girl articles here at PSM and supporting youtube videos have received. It is in the millions. I will do an article on it shortly now that Lisa Leonard Dalton and I have been able to get settled in for a series of on-camera interviews we promised back in September 2021. Also…big thanks to Seattle’s Gary Shannon Burleigh for a masterful job of narrating the Deconstructing a Myth video that went viral….as did Lisa’s dance videos. Gary was the perfect voice for a documentary focused on top 40 radio. He still has the signature sound.

  6. The reveal and Sloopy Girl interview put to rest the falsehoods spread on Reddit, Youtube and elsewhere on social media. Steven’s research has given answers and renewed an interest in te already viral video of Lisa dancing. A video always worth re-watching.

  7. Glad you liked it. Lisa Leonard Dalton is the real thing. The one and only “Sloopy Girl.” Any other suggestions as to the identity of the dancer are online blather…much of it spread by trolls endlessly repeating a false rumor some other fool posted a decade ago.

  8. The number of times that video has been viewed and the body of work she brought to the performance, I hope shes getting some royalties!

  9. Art…thanks for the verification. Lisa does deserve something. The difficulty is that The Sloopy song is copyright. YouTube has arrangements with the copyright holders. So nobody posting the video online at YT, at least if it has the actual Sloopy song in it, recieves any of the proceeds from the ads that play in front of the video. YouTube splits the revenue with copyright owners. In the ‘Deconstructing A Myth’ video YouTube is splitting with Hang On Sloopy and also a clip from Snoopy’s Christmas. Proceeds to those copyright holders. So, as far as that documentary, I wrote it and funded the production costs to get the message out. It was a mystery I wanted to solve. I get zero remuneration nor does Puget Sound Media receive any revenue from it…we just wanted to get this story corrected and made public as did Lisa. I think as Lisa has become known as the dancer, with millions of fans, there might be ways she could make some money. We will be discussing possibilities for content that could be monetized at her channel. As with so many of the artists who had hit records, the publishers have made sure they get the big bucks. I am sure there will be some opportunities as this is breaking big internationally and many websites and channels are now altering descriptions and titles giving Lisa credit as the dancer…huge changes for a story out only 9 days and with an ingrained false narrative until now. On Google, if searching for the Sloopy dancer, her name is now even with or eclipsing the woman incorrectly rumored to be the dancer for at least ten years. Anyway, I agree with you but the only money made off her dance video views…and it is substantial with all the millions of views…is going to YT itself and the publisher holding the copyright to Hang On Sloopy. But hopefully there will be more in it for her than recognition alone. But it would require some degree of creativity since publishers have the song royalties locked up. Lisa knows this and she, too, has her thinking cap on.

    1. Copyrights were setup long before Steven’s documentary on this topic and, as Steven said, this was a non-profit venture.

    2. Thank you for the reply, you did a great job on that documentary. I think Rick Derringer owes her a congratulations for maybe Reviving his career a bit. LOL Anyway keep up the good work i”ll look forward to more content

      1. Art…thanks. Over at YouTube Lisa has her own Sloopy Girl channel. Make sure you subscribe. We will continue to promote the truth about the dancer here at Puget Sound Media and at YouTube. Since the story came out a month ago, the narrative has changed with Lisa’s story and photos all over the internet. The myth that the dancer was named Liz did not stand up to scrutiny and it is fading to black faster than expected. Herd is a quick link to her channel. She plans to add content. https://youtube.com/channel/UClRn3E43flevhReqr7WAApg

  10. My name is Art Bowen I’m an ex-boyfriend of Laura Wasilewski (we are still best friends now) who is Lori Leonard’s life long best friend which of course is Lisa Leonards sister she has all the pictures in this documentary and more you got everything correct in this documentary and i’m sure Lisa appreciates that she was an amazing dancer that’s for sure but with over 20 million views don’t you think that amazing dancer deserves some of that YouTube money i hope that with such great production and research that you see to it that she gets a her fair share of what millions of people would agree is one of the greatest rock and roll dances ever.

  11. Steve…as I sent you a message, since it was a doc I did not monkey with what seemed to be the VH1 video that is online. I knew they had speeded it up and, also, Derringer had. On your inquiry I located the 1975 single and in my sync checking the VH1 is about 2.9% speeded up. I also found that I can put in that single for audio and have better sound. I will do that and adjust lip sync and have two…one that far as I know is VH1 authentic and another with improved quality audio. Once done will have to run by Lisa. Give me a few days..but will do!

  12. Thanks for doing this Steven. After watching the video a few years ago I was puzzled by the story it was a famous British woman. I now have deleted my original comment on youtube about the dancer being Liz Brewer and have commented on this elsewhere. It was exciting to hear from Lisa Dalton who is as radiant as ever. If I had seen the video in 1975 I would have really appreciated it! I’m going to share your youtube video on Facebook and Twitter but before I do you need to fix the youtube video: in this documentary when you finally play Rick derringer’s cover the video is sped up so his voice is higher. Can you re-release again with the video at the correct speed? Then I will post this to Social Media.

    1. Steve….working with Lisa we came up with a better quality audio track than the one that goes with the common online VH1 video. Sloopy is still faster than the 1965 #1 hit. But a music archivist friend located the track. The only one that fits the video was the 45 rpm single. The Sloopy off the album had differences so it would not lip sync. With some tweaks this does. Lisa Leonard Dalton just setup her new youtube channel. So I have arranged for her to host the best quality version of this video. And the video up above, here at Puget Sound Media, links to her site and the video with the music track you requested. I think that both the video and the audio on this are the best of the many online Sloopy dance videos out there.

  13. Jason, you are sure correct about the misinformation surround this one. This new video is a hit at YouTube. The hits are growing as more people find it. The whole Sloopy Girl video has found it’s place in Top 40 and pop culture history. Gary did an incredible job. If for no other reason, people should watch the video to hear that Gary is still, in retirement, one of the best voices ever in Seattle Top 40 radio.

  14. There has been so much misinformation concerning the Sloopy Girl until now. Great work, Steven. Excellent video mix backed with narration by radio great, Gary “Shannon” Burleigh.

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