The quartet became a highly popular attraction throughout America's Midwest, and gained the attention of producers Feldman/Gottherer/Goldstein who brought them to Bert Berns' "Bang Records". The group's very first release was a simple, hard driving tune called "Hang On Sloopy", which shot to the top of the U.S. charts and reached the top 5 in the UK in the summer of 1965. For a follow-up, the band chose a similar arrangement for a tune called "Fever", a remake of Peggy Lee's Top Ten hit in 1958. A series of successive releases in a similar gutsy style fared less well and a cover of Ritchie Valens' "C'Mon Let's Go" was their only other Top 40 hit.
By 1969, the group had discarded its bubblegum image with the progressive album "Infinite McCoys", and became the house band at New York's popular Scene club. The club's owner, Steve Paul, later paired the group with an up and coming blues guitarist named Johnny Winter and billed them as "Johnny Winter And..." ("And" referring to "The McCoys") featured the Zehringer brothers and Randy Hobbs, with Rick handling the production. It was about this time that Rick changed his last name from Zehringer to Derringer.
In 1971, Rick was featured as lead vocalist on three albums, "Johnny Winter And", "Johnny Winter And - Live" and an L.P. by Johnny's brother Edgar Winter called "Edgar Winter's White Trash".
Eventually, Derringer joined Edgar's White Trash band full-time and produced the gold LP, "Roadwork". Derringer's solo album, "All American Boy" was released in 1973 with the now already popular "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo", this time as a single. Rick was writer/producer of Johnny Winter's "Still Alive and Well" album and player/producer of the hit album, "They Only Come Out At Night". The latter featured the No. 1, Grammy nominated monster hit, "Frankenstein" and "FreeRide".
In 1976, Rick created the Derringer Band and during the latter half of the seventies, released four albums, "Derringer" , "Sweet Evil", "If I Weren't So Romantic I'd Shoot You" and "Face To Face". In 1983, Rick returned to his solo career with the LP, "Good Dirty Fun."
Throughout the 70's and 80's Derringer appeared as a session musician on numerous albums with artists Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand and Kiss.
In the mid-80's, Derringer discovered Weird Al Yancovic, producing music for his Grammy-winning albums and videos. Derringer's productions of the Michael Jackson parodies, the No. 1 hit "Eat It," and "Who's Fat," have been among Yancovic's most successful recordings.
Rick was selected to be producer/writer/performer of the World Wrestling Federation LPs. Hulk Hogan's theme song, "I Am A Real American" was written and performed by Rick as a part of these projects.
By 1990, Derringer was once again sought after by Edgar Winter and performed for the LP, "Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer Live in Japan". In the late 1990's, many shows found Rick and Edgar on stage together and they joined for an all-star re-union with the White Trash Horns at 1999's Montreaux Jazz Festival. In 1999, Rick collaborated with Edgar as songwriter/guitarist on his "Winter Blues" CD.
The year 2001 saw Derringer venture back into rock and roll with former Vanilla Fudge members, Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, producing a CD called "DBA - Derringer, Bogert and Appice", with vocals, writing and instrumentals shared by all three. Rick has followed closely on the heels of this project with a recording entitled 'Aiming For Heaven,' with help from his daughter Lory and son Marty.
Derringer was back on the road in 2002 and released "Free Ride Smooth Jazz" with his wife Jenda singing the title song. One of the tracks called "Hot & Cool" charted at #16 on Billboard's Jazz chart.
With many changes in his personal life, Rick launched a Gospel career with the release of "Aiming 4 Heaven" in the Fall of 2008, which saw mild success. Returning to his Rock roots in May 2009, he released the album "Knighted by the Blues" and its single, "Sometimes". 2010 and 2011 saw Rick touring with Ringo Starr's 11th All-Starr Band alongside his long time friend and partner Edgar Winter. Another Jazz oriented LP called "The Three Kings of the Blues" was also released. For the 2012 touring season, Rick teamed up with Charlie Torres and Tommy Curiale and was booked for dates across the United States.