New Orleans, LA

The day Jazz musician, Dorothy Sloop died

Pierre St-Jean
Brett Ruland

NEW ORLEANS, LA - Dorothy Sloop was a jazz performer born on September 26, 1913, in Steubenville, Ohio where she performed at a New Orleans nightspot under the stage name, Sloopy. She was known as a pianist in a variety of all (or mainly) female jazz bands in New Orleans throughout her performing years, which spanned from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1957, she collaborated with Yvonne "Dixie" Fasnacht, a jazz vocalist and clarinetist who ran Dixie's Bar of Music on Bourbon Street, on an album called Dixie and Sloopy. Sloop moved to Florida after retiring and became a teacher.

On July 28, 1998, she died at the age of 84 in Pass Christian, Mississippi. Dorothy's name is now frequently connected with the song "Hang on Sloopy", which was sung by The McCoys and other singers in the 1960s and is said to have been inspired by Dorothy. "Hang on Sloopy" was written by Bert Russell Berns and Wes Farrell, two New York songwriters. Berns also wrote The Isley Brothers and Beatles hit, Twist and Shout. This song is currently the official rock song of the state of Ohio and it is frequently performed by The Ohio State University marching band and at Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team.

For his cover of 'Hang on Sloopy', jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1973. Over 100 artists have recorded the song, including the Yardbirds, Don Ho, and German punk band Die Toten Hosen.

The Wanderers, a 1974 novel by Richard Price about a juvenile gang growing up in the 1960s Bronx, includes a character entitled 'Hang On Sloopy'. Director Philip Kaufman turned the book into a feature picture in 1979.

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