Hi, The Chords were an R&B vocal group from the Bronx, New York. Members included brothers, Carl and Claude Feaster, Jimmy Keyes, Floyd McRae, William Edwards and Rupert Branker. They recorded the doo-wop classic, SH-BOOM on Cat Records in 1954. The song was actually the “B” side of their record. CROSS OVER THE BRIDGE was the “A” side, but once DJ’s started playing SH-BOOM on the air, requests came in for the tune and CROSS OVER THE BRIDGE became the “B” side.
The impact of the tune was huge. The Chords entered the Billboard Top 100 on July 3, 1954, climbing the chart to #5. The single entered the Billboard R&B chart on the same day and just missed the #1 spot, charting at #2 and holding that spot for 2 weeks. This was no small feat for its time, remember this is 1954 and black artists were not being played on pop radio.
Cashing in on a good thing, Mercury Records cut a cover version of SH-BOOM. The Crew-Cuts, who would cover many R&B hits charted their version on July 10, 1954 (one week after The Chords). Their cover version went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Top 100, remaining at the top of the chart for 9 weeks. The Crew-Cuts version would eventually knock The Chords version off the charts, but not until The Chords original version had been on the chart for 16 weeks. The Crew-Cuts did not chart on the Billboard R&B chart.
SH-BOOM is still a very popular oldie and is played often on oldies radio, but usually The Crew-Cuts cover gets the air-play. The Chords original version is played by R&B and doo-wop music stations. I believe the original by The Chords is the ultimate version of this great oldie. Their version won a Grammy: Hall of Fame award and is ranked #215 on the Rolling Stone magazine Top 500 Songs Of All-Time.
CLICK ON THE SONG TITLE BELOW TO HEAR…THE CHORDS…ORIGINAL VERSION OF…”SH-BOOM”…AND THE FLIP SIDE…”CROSS OVER THE BRIDGE”. ALSO INCLUDED IS THE CREW-CUTS…COVER…YOU DECIDE.
Till the next time—Joe