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Lawmaker wants to make 'Sloopy' Ohio's official state rock song

Special to the Legal News

Published: October 10, 2013

In the 116th General Assembly, Rep. Mike Stinziano helped propel “Hang on Sloopy” into Ohio history as the state rock song with a quirky resolution that urged his fellow lawmakers to “just go ahead and pass the darn thing.”

In the 130th General Assembly, Rep. Michael Stinziano, the son of the former state lawmaker, is trying to restore the informal football anthem as Ohio’s official rock song.

House Bill 283, jointly sponsored by the younger Stinziano, D-Columbus, and Rep. Cheryl Grossman, R-Grove City, would codify the tune, written by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell in 1964, as the rock song of the state.

In a statement, Stinziano said it’s recently become known that enacting a codified statute to designate “Hang on Sloopy” as Ohio’s rock song would have the “benefit of official making the song Ohio’s official state rock song in perpetuity.”

Originally titled “My Girl Sloopy,” the lawmaker said the song is perhaps best known as the informal football anthem for The Ohio State University. The marching band began playing the song in 1965.

In 1985, during the 116th legislative session, the elder Stinziano paired with Sen. Gene Watts, both of Columbus, to champion House Concurrent Resolution 16.

The measure, which came about after a columnist for the Columbus Citizen-Journal wrote a piece about the state of Washington considering adopting “Louie, Louie” as its state song, contained provisions that stated “adoption of ‘Hang on Sloopy’ as the official rock song of Ohio is in no way intended to supplant ‘Beautiful Ohio’ as the official state song, but would serve as a companion piece to that old chestnut.”

“Rock music has become an integral part of American culture, having attained a degree of acceptance no one would have thought possible 20 years ago,” the resolution read, adding that the song is of “particular relevance to members of the baby boom generation, who were once dismissed as a bunch of long-haired, crazy kids, but who now are old enough and vote in sufficient numbers to be taken quite seriously.”

Before closing with a snippet of the song’s lyrics, HCR 16 declared “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.”

The tongue-in-cheek resolution was adopted by lawmakers but was not permanently etched in Ohio law.

The younger Stinziano, who is a graduate of OSU’s Moritz College of Law, said “Hang on Sloopy” is synonymous with the state and OSU football.

“I’m pleased to be able to help right this wrong and help our state proudly proclaim that ‘Hang on Sloopy’ is once again the state of Ohio’s official rock song,” he said.

HB 283, which isn’t nearly as colorful as HCR 16, proposes that the words and music of “Hang on Sloopy” be designate the official rock song of the state and includes the tune’s lyrics.

HB 283 has gained bipartisan support from Reps. Nick Barborak, Andrew Brenner, Jim Buchy, Mike Dovilla, Mike Duffey, Robert Hackett, Dale Mallory, Dan Ramos, Michael Sheehy, Stephen Slesnick and Fred Strahorn.

The bill is awaiting a committee assignment.

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