Thursday, February 19, 2009
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-The Chords
Album:The Doo Wop Box
The Chords' 1954 hit Sh-Boom was one of the first black doo wop songs to cross over to the pop charts. It's probably one of the most memorable songs of the doo wop era. Like a lot of doo wop groups, The Chords started on the streets of the Bronx in 1951. Former Keynotes Floyd "Buddy" McRae (second tenor) and William "Ricky" Edwards (bass) decided to form a group with first tenor Jimmy Keyes of the 4 Notes. Keyes recommended brothers Carl Feaster (first tenor) and Claude Feaster (baritone) of The Tunetoppers. They eventually added pianist Rupert Branker. At the time, the rumour was that Sh-Boom was about the atom bomb. According to McRae & Keyes, Sh-Boom was simply a nonsense song based on street slang used in the Bronx. In 1954, the group was brought to Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler and he wanted them to record a cover of the Patti Page hit Cross Over The Bridge. Wexler didn't like Sh-Boom but it was released on the B-side of Cross Over The Bridge in Apr. 1954. DJs started turning the record over so Atlantic rereleased Sh-Boom as a single in June. It reached #2 on the R & B charts and #5 on the pop charts. It was very common for black doo wop songs to be licensed to record companies so a white group could cover it. Mercury Records had The Crew Cuts record it and it was #1 on the pop charts for nine weeks. There's no question The Chords version is superior but many radio stations would not play black music. There was another group named The Chords so the new name was The Chordcats and then The Sh-Booms. They released unsuccessful follow ups in 1955 and left Atlantic for Vik records in 1956. They split in 1959 but reunited on Atlantic in 1960. Then they split up for good but a new version of The Chords led by Jimmy Keyes started in 1979 and they toured the oldies circuit. Sh-Boom was a one hit wonder but the value of Rhino's 4CD The Doo Wop Box is you can get all those hits in one comp. Here's The Chords performing Sh-Boom in 1980.