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In 1954, R&B music was gaining a foothold for white teen audiences. Nervous record companies weren’t comfortable promoting the original R&B songs, opting in many cases to record “sanitized” versions by white cover groups. One of the most successful examples was with The Crew-Cuts’ take on “Sh-Boom”, a song which has been called “the first rock and roll number 1 hit.” JA They topped the charts for 9 weeks.
However, in what was considered an “unprecedented achievement,” SJ the Chords’ original still went top 5 on the pop charts. They also went to #2 on the R&B charts and racked up one million airplays. Meanwhile, the Crew-Cuts went to #12 on the UK charts and sold one million copies.
Both songs make the cut in Dave’s Music Database’s list of the top 20 doo-wop songs of all time. The Chords, however, win out when it comes to which song has more acclaim, making the DMDB list of the top 1000 songs of the 20th century and getting inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Resources and Related Links:
- DMDB page for “Sh-Boom”
- JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Rememberd Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 171.
- MA Dave Marsh. (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 374-5.
- SJ Bob Shannon/John Javna. (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York, NY; Warner Brothers, Inc. Page 170.
- TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 160.