Rick Derringer: Putting the Hoochie Koo Back in Rock and Roll

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DerringerHe came into the world as Ricky Dean Zehringer in Fort Recovery, Ohio, on August 5, 1947. And then while still a teenager enjoyed a #1 hit, “Hang On Sloopy,” in 1965 with his band the McCoys. (His stage name Rick Derringer was a natural variation on his last name inspired by the pistol in the logo of Bang Records, the band’s label.)

What to do for an encore? Build a 50-year career as a guitarist, songwriter, artist, producer and entertainer that is still going strong today.

BangLogoColorThe McCoys became the “And” in Johnny Winter And, and Derringer made good use of all of his above listed talents working with the albino Texas blues guitarist as well as his brother Edgar. In 1970 Johnny Winter recorded a catchy lil’ number written by Derringer titled “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” that soon was achieving the status of a classic rock standard, secured for all time when Rick recorded it on his 1973 solo debut album, All American Boy, and the tune was a #23 hit.

Watch them perform it on The Midnight Special on November 2, 1973

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Derringer has played on albums by Alice Cooper, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Kiss and even Barbra Streisand, to name some but hardly all. He discovered and produced Weird Al Yankovic to smash hit radio and video success. He wrote, produced and performed Hulk Hogan’s theme song “I Am A Real American.” He’s done tours with Ringo’s All-Starr Band, made a successful foray into smooth jazz, delved deep into the blues, and still rocks.

In the You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up Dept., Derringer was charged in 2017, with carrying a loaded weapon on a flight to Atlanta. It presumably was not a, er, derringer.

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. RecordSteve
    #1 RecordSteve 6 August, 2020, 15:24

    Happy Birthday Bro. Rick! Great music!! You’really an All-Star & we get a Bang every time one of your songs comes on the radio….

    Reply this comment
  2. Cosmic Cowboy
    #2 Cosmic Cowboy 5 August, 2022, 00:37

    Another under-appreciated guitarist by the general public, but heralded by his peers, Rick Derringer is a very versatile and savvy guitar player.

    Really shows his chops on Steely Dan’s “Show Biz Kids”, as well as several other guest appearances, as noted on the article.

    In high school, “All American Boy” was one of my favorite albums, and still generally holds up pretty well, almost 50 years later.

    Of course, “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” is still performed by many classic rock cover bands worth strapping on a guitar.

    Reply this comment
  3. Deke
    #3 Deke 6 August, 2022, 07:58

    I don’t understand why he wasn’t included on the Johnny Winter tribute album that Edgar just put out considering he was such a huge part of both brothers.

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    • Greg Brodsky
      Greg Brodsky 6 August, 2022, 09:08

      We asked the publicist. The reply, “I believe it was that as a tribute record Edgar was inviting
      new artists to give fresh takes to these songs.”

      Reply this comment
  4. Baybluesman
    #4 Baybluesman 6 August, 2022, 17:39

    Thanks Greg,

    I asked BCB a question similar to Deke’s, couple of months ago, but no response.

    Thanks for reaching out to Edgar Winter’s team, and obtaining a response.

    Understand the sentiment Edgar expressed, but still curious/hard to believe Rick Derringer couldn’t have been involved in some capacity, even if he didn’t perform as a guitarist, especially with his other talents, especially as a record producer.

    Reply this comment
  5. 122intheshade
    #5 122intheshade 3 November, 2023, 01:05

    Cool nugget from the recent book about the Allman Brothers and the LP “Brothers and Sisters” by Alan Paul . . . the book goes a bit into the history of the various players.

    Dickie Betts was a high-school dropout who played in bands as a young man before joining the ABB. One of the bands he was in was popular in the Midwest about the same time as the McCoys. That band was called “The Jokers”.

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