Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Rock n roll hoochie koo tits

Date Aired
December 1, 2017
Running Time
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Todd plays "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" on the piano

A one-hit wonder retrospective

Todd: Welcome back to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. And today, I want to listen to some rock 'n' roll!

[video for Thunder/Feel It Still]

Todd (VO): No, damn it! I said some.....

Todd: ......rock and roll! Some real rock and roll! Rock and roll you can blast out of your burnt orange muscle car and let your mullet whip by in the breeze. So today, we're going to listen to a nice thick slab of southern-fried, hard-boogieing rock music. With like, guitar and everything! Eat that, Imagine Dragons!

[clip of "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo," Todd air guitars in his chair]

Rick Derringer: Couldn't stop movin' when it first took hold

It was a cold-spring night at the old town hall

Todd (VO): Yeah, turn it up! This is the pinnacle of '70s southern blues mullet boogie rock!

Todd: Although I guess this song predates mullets by a few years [album cover of "Rick Derringer Joyride: Solo Albums 1973-1980"], judging by this guy's glorious feathered hair.

[clips of.........]

Todd (VO): "Slow Ride" never did it for me, "Mississippi Queen," take it or leave it, "Smokin' in the Boys Room," pass.

Todd: No, for me, the real high point of this genre is [back to ......] "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo," the glorious only hit from unfairly forgotten guitar god Rick Derringer.

Rick: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Backup singers: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Todd (VO): And yet, unless you were there at the time, or you obsessively listened to [cover of.......] the "Dazed and Confused" soundtrack, you might not know this song at all. I don't think it became a classic rock staple the way [single covers of.......] "Feel Like Makin' Love" or "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" did, both inferior songs. How did that happen? This song ranked as high as #23 in the spring of 1974, at a time when the Hot 100 was mostly things like "Sunshine On My Shoulders." If it was that popular, how could it have gotten left behind? Well, here's my theory. Radio stations stopped playing it, because it is, in fact...

Todd: titled "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo." Yeh?

Rick: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Backup singers: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Todd (VO): That's...that's a song title, alright. I mean, he's certainly not ashamed of it. They're just belting it out. See, Rick Derringer loved two things: rock and roll...

Todd: ...and hoochie koo. And he combined them into...

Rick: Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo

Todd: Um... (throws his arms up)

Rick: Somebody's searching for rocking!

Before the hit.

Todd: Okay, Rick Derringer's technically not Southern, he's from Ohio. Which is even better. Real rock comes out of the heartland!

Todd (VO): And he started a band in the early 60's with the All-American name of "The McCoys." And in 1965, when he and his bandmates were still in high school, The McCoys had a monster massive #1 hit, making Derringer the rare double one-hit wonder!

Todd: Maybe I should make this a two-part episode! But that would require extra work, so screw it.

The McCoys: Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town
Todd (VO): Anyway, the song is "Hang On Sloopy." You probably know it if you remember the 60's, or listened to, like, any oldies at all, or you went to Ohio State.

[Clip of Ohio State marching band playing "Hang On Sloopy"]

Todd (VO): It's about this girl named Sloopy who everyone picks on because she's from the wrong side of the tracks. And also because her parents named her Sloopy.

The McCoys: Sloopy, I don't care what your daddy do
Todd (VO): I do care, though, that he named you Sloopy.

Todd: What the hell kind of name is that? It's, like, a dog's name.

Todd (VO): Anyway, Derringer played lead guitar, and...check this out.

[Clip of Derringer's guitar solo]

Todd (VO): Geez, slow down Satriani. That is some serious shred for a pre-Clapton, pre-Hendrix garage song.

Todd: Most of these bands couldn't play at all.

Todd (VO): If you got the guys who played "Wild Thing" to play this, their fingers would fall off.

Host: And here are The McCoys with their latest big hit, "Fever."
Todd (VO): Okay, The McCoys are technically not one-hit wonders because they had a handful of other lesser hits. Here's their cover of the old Peggy Lee standard "Fever." It went to the Top 10, and...

Todd: ...sounds exactly like "Hang On Sloopy."

The McCoys: You give me fever, fever when you kiss me
Todd (VO): Matter of fact, all their songs sounded like "Hang On Sloopy." Anyway, after the hits dried up...

Todd: ...the band went their separate ways, and Derringer joined a new band.

Todd (VO): You see this weird-looking guy here? This guy is Johnny Winter. His brother Edgar is the only one who ever scored any hits, but Johnny was a blues legend. Dude could play. In fact, he probably didn't even need backup at all, but he recruited Derringer to join his new band, "Johnny Winter And."

Todd: ...that's it, just "Johnny Winter And." And who? And nobody!

Todd (VO): You don't get a name! I'm Johnny Winter!

Todd: You're nothing!

Todd (VO): I'm kidding, he did a lot of work for the Winter brothers. Not only as a side man, he also produced all of Edgar's big hits.

Edgar Winter Group: Come on and take a free ride (Free ride)
Todd (VO): Yeah, awesome, right?

Todd: And he even got to record some music of his own!

Johnny Winter: He's just finished an album of his own, which I had the pleasure of playing on. We're gonna do a song from it right now. He's an excellent writer and guitarist and good friend of ours, Rick Derringer!
The Big Hit

Todd: I just love the way this song builds, it's like a motorcycle revving up.

Rick: I couldn't stop moving when it first took hold
Todd (VO): So anyway, in 1973, Rick Derringer released his debut album, seen here with absolutely terrifying artwork. The first single, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" hit the Top 40 and peaked in March of '74, proving once and for all...

Todd: ...that Homer Simpson was right.

Homer: Everyone knows that rock attained perfection in 1974, it's a scientific fact.
Todd (VO): What I think elevates this song above the average classic rock song, is just that it is filled with hooks. Like a little riff in between each line.
Rick: We were rollin' in the grass that grows behind the barn
Todd (VO): But of course, the real hook is in the chorus. And if you really wanna get it...

Todd: should listen to the original version.

Todd (VO): See, Rick originally gave this to Johnny Winter a few years before this. And his version goes a little bit more like this.

Johnny Winter: Rock and roll, hoochie koo, Lordy mama, light my fuse
Todd: My God, it's barely the same song at all! Where are the backup singers?
Rick: Rock and roll, hoochie koo (Rock and roll, hoochie koo)
Todd (VO): That's more like it. And, you know, God bless the band who are yelling their hearts out there, but for the full effect, you really need to hear the studio version with the soul singers really belting it out.
Rick: Rock and roll, hoochie koo (Rock and roll, hoochie koo)
Todd: I looked them up.

Todd (VO): One of them was the backup for Stevie Wonder, the other two were cast members in The Wiz. I mean, the good Wiz on Broadway, not the movie.

Todd: So that's some serious soul pedigree right there. And that's what's always put the best Southern rock over the top.

Todd (VO): I mean, without the backup singers, Lynyrd Skynyrd was just another Grand Funk. This is just an exaggeration, lay off Skynyrd, people.

Todd: But anyway, let's get to the big question. What's up with that title?

Rick: Rock and roll, hoochie koo (Rock and roll, hoochie koo)
Todd (VO): I mean, the song is such a glorious celebration of rock music. Why is he pairing "Rock and Roll" with the sound you make when you tickle a baby?

Todd: Is it supposed to be a rock and roll lullaby song? Which exists, by the way. Okay, look, hoochie koo means sex.

Todd (VO): I mean, that was probably obvious to a lot of you, but in case you couldn't figure it out, it's old-timey blues slang for sex.

Todd: Rock and Roll, Giggity Giggity.

Todd (VO): So it might sound dumb now, but back in the day, people would've recognized that it meant sex and/or electric blues. So, you know, laugh it up.

Todd: 60 years from now, YOLO is also gonna sound like baby talk.

Rick: The way they wiggle that thing really knocks me out
Todd (VO): Other than that, the lyrics are a whole mess of classic rock cliches. Which, for the record, were probably not cliches yet at the time. You know, "lordy mama," "light my fuse," all the good stuff
Rick: The skeeters started buzzin' 'bout this time a year, I'm going 'round back, said she'd meet me there (NOT A RHYME)
Todd: I know I push the "Not A Rhyme" button too often, but that's pretty egregious, right?
Rick: 'Cha know I'm never gonna lose that funky sound
Todd (VO): I got a question. Did "funk" mean something different in the mid-'70's? Like, a lot of these guitar guys, they were pretty proud of their funk.

Todd: Sorry, it's just...not what I think of when I think of funky music.

Rick: When my ears started ringin' like a fire alarm
Todd (VO): No, I kid, you know, it's a song about meeting girls, listening to hard rock music. Exactly the stuff you'd want in a rock and roll song.

Todd: And he makes that guitar scream!

Todd (VO): This song has enough rock and roll for an entire career.

Todd: But let's see how he followed it up.

The Failed Follow Up

Clip of live performance of "Teenage Love Affair"
Todd (VO): The second song only barely scraped onto the Hot 100, it's called "Teenage Love Affair".
Rick: She was a cute little thing about fifteen
She liked to make the schoolboys stare
It was an instant cosmic need
A teenage love affair
Todd: Uh, okay, with the climate right now I feel like I should clarify: the narrator of this song is probably also a teenager.

Todd (VO): It's, it's not explicit, but, you know, I'm pretty sure. I-It's implied. So it's not skeevy.

Todd: [beat] It's not!


Did He Ever Do Anything Else?


Did He Deserve Better?


Transcript in Progress

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