From The Plain Dealer

The Ohio Legislature is almost sure to codify “Hang On Sloopy” as the official state rock song after it passed unanimously out of a House committee this week. It was made the state song by resolution nearly 30 years ago, but this move would chisel it in the stone of the Ohio Revised Code.

If you’ve been a Plain Dealer reader for some time, you might recognize the name of the man who got Sloopy on the legislature’s radar those many years ago.

Joe Dirck, former Plain Dealer Metro columnist, was pounding out a column then for the now-defunct Columbus Citizen-Journal when he came up with an idea that was music to his ears.

He’d read a story about how the state of Washington had talked about adopting “Louie, Louie” as its state song. The Kingsmen, who recorded the hit, were from there.

“It was a Sunday and I needed a Monday column,” said Dirck.

Why not push for a state song for Ohio? It was only a good idea for the state, it was a great idea for a newspaper columnist who needed to feed the column beast every other day. It could have many encores.

So Dirck wrote a piece pushing for Ohio to adopt Sloopy because the song was written in the 1960s by the McCoys, a Dayton band. Dirck is a Dayton boy. And he knew the McCoys back in the day as he played bass in a couple of bands himself. Besides, Sloopy already was the go-to song (“O-H-I-O”) for the Ohio State University Marching Band, which first performed it in 1965.

Dirck campaigned hard for the designation in print. He enlisted State Rep. Mike Stinziano and Sen. Gene Watts to sponsor a resolution, which Dirck wrote, folding in some funny “whearases” such as: “”WHEREAS, Adoption of this resolution will not take too long, cost the State anything, or affect the quality of life in this State to any appreciable degree, and if we in the legislature just go ahead and pass the darn thing, we can get on with more important stuff.”

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