Sloopy Wives-Fact and Fiction

***Update: On November 21, 2022 Rick Derringer provided the answer fans had been waiting for. He was asked on his Facebook page for the name of the girl dancer in his “Hang On Sloopy” video. His answer was “Lisa somebody.” He didn’t know her, as had been previously reported here, other than he recalled her first name. This mystery was solved in 2021, but it is now official and verified by Rick. Lisa Leonard Dalton is 100% the dancer in that classic 1975 Sloopy Girl music video.

Rick Derringer covered “Hang On Sloopy” in 1975. The original had been a #1 hit for his band, The McCoys in 1965. The “Sloopy Girl” dancer appeared in the 1975 re-release film.
Lisa Leonard Dalton as “Sloopy Girl” in 1975

When The McCoys had a giant hit with “Hang On Sloopy” in 1965, nobody would have guessed that 56 years later some 40 million viewers would be arguing about the short music film shot by Rick Derringer in 1975. Rick, the former lead singer of The McCoys and a prominent guitarist, was re-releasing the Sloopy song adding steel drums and a marimba. The two covers of the same song, along with other versions performed by Rick over the years, have create confusion. For those detectives who wish to investigate this further, the sped-up reggae version of “Hang On Sloopy” came out on Rick Derringer’s 1975 album called Spring Fever and the Sloopy song track was released as a single at that time as well. The main attraction, more so than the cover of the classic song, was the mysterious and previously unidentified “Hang On Sloopy” dancing girl. (Click HERE to watch the video).

Many curious people know that QZVX has been involved in searching for the true “Hang on Sloopy” dancer for about a year. The results of that investigation were released here, and in a YouTube video, two weeks ago. As expected, the video revealing that Lisa Leonard Dalton is the “Sloopy Girl,” has gone viral. Views escalated to several thousand hits per day.

Sloopy Girl,” Lisa Leonard Dalton, the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer in a 2021 photo

Fans have accepted that the Hang On Sloopydancer is the one and only “Sloopy Girl,” Lisa Leonard Dalton. Music websites and YouTube channels are changing titles and labels to reflect that new information. Yet, there is another myth getting in the way of the truth. Unfortunately, many bloggers, as a result of lack of research, have created a rumor that Liz Brewer in the UK married Rick Derringer in 1969 (a marriage lasting 22 years) and that she was the noted rock and pop culture journalist identified as Rick Derringer’s wife. That is false. Inaccurate data has been spread online and in social media. Add to that, the wrong information has been circulating for ten years. And please, don’t read this article and suggest that Lisa Leonard Dalton was married to Rick. She was not!

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! Brit Liz Brewer never had any connection to Rick Derringer nor did she have a role in the now viral Sloopy dance video. 

Two Lizzes Confused With One Another

As far as Lizzes go, fact is it was another Liz, not Liz Brewer in the UK, who was married to Rick Derringer. Liz “Agriss” Derringer, an American from New York, married Rick in 1969. The marriage lasted about 22 years. If that story sounds familiar, that is because the general scenario has been told before…but with the wrong Liz as Rick’s wife. What a muddled mess.

The real life Liz Derringer was Rick first wife, and his ONLY wife with the name Liz. Let’s establish he has been married only three times. Fifteen years ago, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune interviewed Rick and they reported the following:

“Derringer and his “third and last wife,” Jenda, are born-again Christians who clearly would rather not dwell on past rock ‘n’ roll excesses and successes.” (June 24, 2006)

Below is documentation of the first marriage. Ricky Zehringer (birth name) married Liz “Agriss” Derringer in 1969. This Liz, not the Liz in the UK, is also a close friend of Bebe Buell (a famous groupie and the mother of Hollywood actress Liv Tyler).

Marriage License for Rick Derringer and the REAL Liz “Agriss” Derringer — Not Liz Brewer!

If Rick Derringer had only three wives, who were the other two? This information comes from public records. The left photo below is Liz “Agriss” Derringer, in the early days and married to Rick (picture was on her Facebook page). Photos of the real Liz Derringer are often attributed to the wrong Liz. Next to that photo is a shot of Liz “Agriss” Derringer and Rick posing together about ten years ago. The center shot is the late Dyan Buckelew Derringer and Rick at their 1991 wedding. She was wife number two. And the right photo is Rick’s current wife, Jenda, whom he married in 2000. You will notice that the Brit, Liz Brewer, is absent from this list.

Left two photos: Elizabeth (Liz) “Agriss” Derringer (more often than not mislabeled as Liz Brewer). Center photo: Dyan Buckelew and Rick at their wedding, Right photo: Rick and current wife Jenda (Brenda Jean)

For anyone who might doubt that Rick was married to this American Liz, go to Facebook and search for Elizabeth Derringer. She has a public page with lots of information, photos of rock stars, pictures with Rick and rock and roll stories. She lives on the East Coast USA. Her current husband informed QZVX that his wife was the only Liz that Rick Derringer was ever married to and that she NEVER had Brewer as a last name. He also said his wife Liz told him she was NOT the “Hang On Sloopy” dancer. Liz said the dancer was a studio backlot girl and Rick did not know her. (That leads us back to Lisa Leonard Dalton in LA being the mystery dancer, as attested to by more than 20 witnesses.)

If you’re still doubting these facts, consider this: While Rick was married to Liz “Agriss” Derringer, over on the other side of the pond, Liz Brewer married John Rendall in 1978 (click HERE). She is now divorced, but the dates of the Derringer and Rendall marriages coincided with one another for several years. That precludes any possibility that Liz in the UK was one of the “Sloopy Wives.” And remember Rick was only married to one Liz and not two. Bloggers have had these two ladies mixed up for many years now. Factually sloppy bloggers (blogging is not news reporting) spew silliness and lazy bloggers repeat unverified fairy tales.

All of the photos below are Liz “Agriss” Derringer. Not even one picture is that of Liz Brewer in the UK. Unfortunately they have been misidentified in the past. Almost all websites have corrected that egregious error. Currently online “Random Musings” still displays incorrectly labeled photos that erroneously identify the real “Sloopy Wife,” American Liz “Agriss” Derringer, as the British Liz Brewer. The confusing and un-vetted website is so far off base that it is amusing the host has taken the liberty to christen himself as the so-called “film inspector.” That he is not!

A montage of 100% Liz “Agriss” Derringer photos, many mislabeled at “Random Musings.” She’s with Rick, Andy Warhol and her friend Steven Tyler. Not one photo is UK Liz Brewer! All of them are Liz “Agriss” Derringer.

Dancing Girl’s Age

Lisa Leonard Dalton’s age, 19 at the time of the 1975 Sloopy dance, is easy to document.  Born in 1955, Dalton turned 20 in late fall of 1975. She was eight years younger than musician Rick Derringer. He turned 28 in the summer of 1975.

Liz Brewer’s age is more elusive. Her Facebook page has her birthday as June 6th. As is typical, the year of birth is not listed. Genealogy sites lacked further details. Online resources are all over the map. One prominent search engine puts her age at 48 today and it seems she is stuck there — her age has not changed in more than a year. That is clearly wrong: Liz is not that young, and a current age of 48 would negate confirmed facts about her life, e.g., that she moved to Portugal as a teen and, by the mid-1960s, she was back in the UK and part of London’s club scene.

An archival search eventually provided an answer. But first, let me digress:  In her video titled In London & Jimi Hendrix Liz reminisced that she was “about 26,” and operating a London club when Jimi Hendrix released his first British hit, Hey Joe. According to The Book of British Hit Singles that record debuted on the British chart in late December 1966, peaking in January ’67 at No. 6. It remained on the chart for a total of eight weeks.

Virgin Book Of British Hit Singles, page 190

From Liz’s recollection that she was “about 26” at the time of Jimi’s hit, we’d assume she was turning 26 on her June 6th, 1967 birthday. Following the logical sequence, eight years later in 1975, at the time of the Sloopy dance, Liz would have been 34 years old. But hold on, additional information indicates that Liz Brewer was actually younger in the mid-1960s than she thought she was.

QZVX searched deep into British newspaper archives. Many vintage articles mention Liz Brewer’s activities through the years. Most of the content was informative, but not specific as to her age. Then, in a nearly 60-year-old Daily Mirror, I located a photo and an article about the former Brit debutante Elizabeth Brewer. She was photographed in a swimsuit in the Algarve, Portugal (where she ended up running a club). The paper was dated August 17, 1964, (so published about 2 months after her June 6 birthday) and she was listed as being 21 years of age. Crunching the numbers, her year of birth would be 1943. On June 6, 2023, she turns 80 years old. A copy of that newspaper clipping is below. To make it easier to read, I re-pasted a magnified version of the caption in the red circle at the top.

Liz Brewer was in her 30s at the time of the ‘1975  Sloopy film. (Daily Mirror, August 17, 1964 clipping)
Lisa Leonard Dalton in her early twenties.

That birth year is believable and it makes sense. Liz’s physical appearance in 1964 fit that of a 21 year old girl. Also, several other articles were in agreement with this timeline. That birth date works with the general details of her teenage journey to Portugal and her return to London approximately seven years later. Remember that the 1964 newspaper photo of 21-year-old Liz predates the Sloopy dance by 11 years. She would have been older, turning 32 in 1975. Comparatively, Rick Derringer turned 28 in 1975 and Lisa Leonard Dalton turned 20 in autumn of that year.

That’s a 12-year age difference or “generation gap” between Liz Brewer and Lisa Leonard Dalton. Brewer was born near the tail end of what is referred to as The Silent Generation. Dalton was born smack dab in the middle of The Baby Boom Generation. Not surprisingly, most viewers refer to the youthful Sloopy Girl dancer as the “dancing girl.” The dancer looks more like a 19 year old girl than a 30-something woman. This revelation further weakens any supposition that Liz Brewer was the dancing girl. That is not unexpected. Remember that historically other verifiably false rumors had been spread by unreliable sources and trolls; for example, that Liz Brewer was a Rick Derringer groupie, that she was tight with Andy Warhol, that she was a pop culture journalist, that she was married to Rick, and/or that she was the dancer. Any parts of that scenario that are correct applied to the other Liz, the real Sloopy Wife, American Liz “Agriss” Derringer. Extensive research has never found any link between Liz Brewer and Rick Derringer. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Liz in the UK had any role in the 1975 “Hang On Sloopy” dance film.

Many people, who’ve been following this case of mistaken identity, have asked what Liz Brewer in the UK has been doing with her life and career from the 1960s on. Some of those answers can be found in the British Newspaper Archives. QZVX has collected a number of articles, several of them with vintage photos of Liz Brewer (Click HERE to view those files).

Liz Brewer was never wed to Rick Derringer and she did NOT appear in the 1975 “Hang On Sloopy” dance film.

The Real Liz Derringer is NOT British

In the early days of the saga, I can see how people misidentified the two ladies named Liz. That was especially true if they weren’t paying much attention and just bought the online fiction. Now the two women are obviously not the same person. To clarify the facts, the real Liz Derringer also does not have a British accent — it is an East Coast USA sound. Earlier this year she was interviewed, along with her famous friend Bebe Buell. They told personal stories and spoke of their lives. I have the full interview, however the channel that originally posted it has since made the segment private…so I will not re-post what I have. That would go against their wishes. In the full interview, Liz stated she was married to Rick Derringer from 1969 for about 22 years. And she told of their rock and roll adventures. Fortunately, a segment of the interview remains online. Anyone viewing this segment will have to admit this is not Liz in the UK. To be clear, I don’t have an issue with the British Liz. It is just that the internet has so distorted the story of the dancing girl and Rick’s wives that this big reality check was in order.

Here is a short segment of Liz Derringer, the rock journalist and the lady who was actually married to Rick for 22 years. She was interviewed on the “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll” channel. This story is not G-rated. It does, however, bring home the point that the real Liz Derringer is absolutely NOT Liz Brewer in the UK.

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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9 thoughts on “Sloopy Wives-Fact and Fiction

  1. Bradley…Rick’s actual first wife…Liz Agriss Derringer…not to be confused with Liz in the UK was a rock journalist and a close associate of Andy Warhol. She is also close to Bebe Buell, mom of Liv Tyler, who sings. But I think Liz stuck to writing and public relations. I doubt she was singing. Her talents were elsewhere from what I have learned.

  2. Oh, man, Lisa Leonard Dalton!

    75 was, in real life imagery, just as it is in that video. Her style, presence, and beguiling smile as she moves in congruence with the music and times in which the filming took place. Enchanting woman, and there’s no surprise that these revelations are making such huge waves.

    I saw Rick Derringer at, I believe it was called Annabelle’s at the time (the club’s name changed so many times), in the mid to late eighties, located on PCH on the border of Torrance and Redondo Beach at Palos Verdes Boulevard. It was a great show, and his wife was his backup singer – I remember that distinctly, thinking that the tour was basically operated on a shoestring. It was however, my opportunity to see the Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo artist who I first discovered as a contributing musician on the Edgar Winter album, They Only Come Out at Night, with a very small picture of him on the album cover.

    I also remember thinking that the performance of his “backup singer” was rather lackluster, and detracted somewhat from the performance of both him and his band. Now… was she, the backup singer, really his wife? I do not know for sure, as I can’t really remember whether Derringer introduced her as such or if one of my friends attending with me told me.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to sort and post this. I have found so many pictures online that professional photographers have available,
    Getty Images, Alama, Shutterstock. Those are correct as far as the company having named the women, it is when you do a broad google search that you start seeing pictures from the bloggers you speak about. To go back and change information that has gone uncorrected for that long is going to take some time, but I have been keeping up with your stories and watching the counts. It is amazing! I am also amazed at how quickly Lisa Leonard Dalton is becoming a household name and you can literally see it taking over.
    I am so happy that this story is getting told. Good job.

    1. Thanks for posting that video…It is relatively rare, for those ladies involved with the crazy, Rock and Roll lifestyle of the 60s, 70s and 80s, to really tell some of those off-the-wall stories….It is more typical for folks like Rick Derringer, and his born-again wife, to simply refuse to face the reality of their past lives…Hypocrisy is rampant these days!

      1. Jack….glad you liked it. This whole misidentification of the Lizzes is bad for the real Liz Derringer too. She was a major pop culture writer, but her credit is often given to Liz in the UK…who is accomplished in her field, but it is not as a rock and roll journalist.

    2. Thank you Ginger. I suspect that when we realize that the photos of the dancer in the video are Lisa Leonard Dalton…not either Liz. And if we also realize that all of the early photos listed online as Rick and Liz Brewer are actually Liz Agriss with Rick, I am doubting that anyone anywhere has a real time photo of Rick with Liz in the UK…other than maybe two separate photos of them pasted together.

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