The Chords (American band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Chords
OriginThe Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Years active1951–1960, 1980
Past members
  • Carl Feaster
  • Claude Feaster
  • Jimmy Keyes
  • Floyd McRae
  • William Edwards
  • Rupert Branker

The Chords were an American doo-wop vocal group formed in 1951 in The Bronx, New York,[1] known for their 1954 hit "Sh-Boom", which they wrote.[2] It is the only song they created that reached mainstream popularity.


The group was formed by friends from a high school based in the Bronx, New York City, United States.[3] The initial members were the brothers Carl and Claude Feaster, plus Jimmy Keyes, Floyd McRae, William Edwards, with support from the pianist Rupert Branker. The Chords were one of the early acts to be signed to Cat Records, a subsidiary label of Atlantic Records.[3]

Their debut single was a doo-wop version of a Patti Page song "Cross Over the Bridge", and the record label reluctantly allowed a number penned by the Chords on the B-side.[4] That track was "Sh-Boom", which quickly became the more popular side.[4] The record reached the top 10 of the U.S. pop chart, which was then a unique occurrence for an R&B number.[4] The track was covered by The Crew-Cuts, who took the song to the top of the charts, arguably registering the first U.S. rock and roll number one hit record.[3]

The enthusiasm doo-wop fans had for the Chords' music was dampened when Gem Records claimed that one of the groups on its roster was called the Chords; consequently the group changed their name to the Chordcats.[4] Their success was a one-off as subsequent releases, including "Zippity-Zum", all failed to chart.[4] A round of personnel changes and recordings on a variety of labels all failed to reignite the public's interest.[3][5][6][7]

Original members[edit]

  • Carl Feaster, lead (September 14, 1930 – January 10, 1981)
  • Claude Feaster, baritone (September 23, 1933 – November 1978)
  • Jimmy Keyes, first tenor (May 22, 1930 – July 22, 1995)[5]
  • Floyd "Buddy" McRae, second tenor (October 1, 1927 – March 19, 2013)[8]
  • William "Ricky" Edwards, bass (died 1964)

Pianist Rupert Branker was murdered on July 3, 1961.[9]

Floyd McRae, the last surviving original member, died on March 19, 2013, at a nursing home in the Bronx at the age of 85.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Chords Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2021-12-01.
  2. ^ "Top Chords Songs | Highest Chart Hit". Retrieved 2021-12-01.
  3. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 71. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Soul Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 45. ISBN 0-85112-733-9.
  5. ^ a b David Hinckley (2011-04-12). "Resolution would rename Bronx street in honor of 'Sh-Boom' group The Chords". Daily News. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  6. ^ R.I.P. Floyd ‘Buddy’ McRae, Last Surviving Member Of The Chords - VVN Music, 21 March 2013
  7. ^ "The Chords | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  8. ^ a b David Hinckley (March 21, 2013). "Floyd 'Buddy' McRae, the last living member of the Chords and a singer on the song 'Sh-Boom' dies in Bronx hospital". Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks - CHORDS". Retrieved 2023-05-13.

External links[edit]