This is early doo wop and early rock and roll. “Life could be a dream,” they say in “Sh-Boom.” And the song was a happy dream for The Chords, a group from the Bronx discovered singing in a subway. The members consisted of Carl and Claude Feaster, Jimmy Keyes, Floyd McRae, and William “Ricky” Edwards. The song, which is credited to all of the group’s members, has a little pop, a little swing, a little R&B, some nonsense syllables, and a message of optimism. These are the ingredients of doo wop. In the summer of 1954, “Sh-Boom” went to #2 on the R&B Chart and #5 on the U.S. Pop Chart. Their version of the song is on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
There has been the minor controversy over whether “Sh-Boom” by The Chords or “Gee” by The Crows is the first rock and roll record. Chronologically, “Gee” was released first. However, they both peaked in popularity during the summer of 1954. Does it really matter, though? All of this talk of genres is a later artifact anyway. The musicians were just making music, and the people were dancing. The category listed on the record is Vocal Quartet.
If you would like to read more about “Gee, ” please click here.