New York producer Bert Berns apparently harbored a deep-seated fixation for zesty variations on the basic chords at the heart of "La Bamba." He recycled that same snappy Latin progression into national smashes for the Jarmels ("A Little Bit of Soap"), the Isley Brothers ("Twist and Shout"), and the Vibrations ("My Girl Sloopy") during the early '60s, sometimes writing under his Bert Russell pseudonym. Like "Twist and Shout" (originally waxed for Atlantic by a duo known as the Top Notes before Berns wisely handed it to the Isleys), "My Girl Sloopy" fared better on the charts in its second incarnation -- only when the McCoys tore into it for Berns' Bang imprint in 1965, it answered to the slightly amended title of "Hang on Sloopy." To be honest, the remake wasn't all that much of an improvement on the Vibrations' spirited original; the veteran R&B vocal quintet from Los Angeles brought the same sanctified passion to their 1964 Atlantic label hit that lit up "The Watusi," their 1961 dance rave-up for Checker, imparting melismatically charged harmonies over a Latin groove accentuated by snappy brass, bongos, and an organ (the audience noises sound a trifle contrived, however). Berns didn't produce the McCoys' version -- that honor went instead to Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer, who had been touring as a phony Aussie trio called the Strangeloves on the strength of their hit "I Want Candy." The clever threesome came across the precocious McCoys (then billed as Rick & the Raiders) when they backed the Strangeloves at a Dayton, OH, concert. Led by lead vocalist/ guitarist Rick Derringer (other members were Rick's brother, drummer Randy Zehringer; bassist Randy Hobbs; and keyboardist Ronnie Brandon), the quartet hustled back to New York to dub energetic vocals and a dazzling Derringer guitar solo over a backing track originally intended for the Strangeloves, changing their name along the route. Berns, needless to note, was delighted with the results and gave it a big bang of a send-off. He was rewarded with a pop chart-topper in the summer of 1965. The Chicago-based Ramsey Lewis Trio caught up with the number next, the classically trained pianist giving it his own easy-grooving jazz spin for the Chess subsidiary Cadet Records with a "Sloopy" cut live that October at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, CA. Its massive success made it three major hits in less than two years on the very same song (but rendered very differently).