Thursday, August 21, 2014

MA-13 - Splitting Mad: More Nuclear Numbers

Here's an early number in my ongoing anthology of pop music that treats with nuclear power or conflict, inspired by the soundtrack album from The Atomic Cafe.

1     Fireball Boogie         Camille Howard               1948
2    Sh-Boom   The Chords               1953
3    Watch World War Three (on Pay TV)         Crown City Four              1960
4    The Sun Is Burning    Simon & Garfunkel                1964
5    I Come And Stand At Every Door  The Byrds               1966
6 Atomic Bombs Away Blues Creation 1971
7 Nuclear Blues Blood Sweat & Tears 1980
8 Your Attention Please Scars 1981
9 After the Rain   Comsat Angels 1982
10 99 Red Balloons Nena 1983
11 Party at Ground Zero Fishbone 1985
12 Protect And Survive The Dubliners 1987
13 Everyday Is Like Sunday Morrissey 1988
14 I Like Chinese Monty Python 1989
15 April 2031 Warrant 1992
16 Nuclear Supremacy Dayglo Abortions 1995
17 Jesus Hits Like an Atomic Bomb Chanticleer 2004
18 Bring Back the Bomb GWAR 2004
19 Brighter Than A Thousand Suns  Iron Maiden 2006
20 The Iranian Bomb Tal Gilad 2011

Concerning Track Two, "Sh-Boom," most folks don't know its thermonuclear origins.As the story goes, a group of guys were sitting in a car listening to the radio when a news bulletin announced the USSR's first successful H-bomb test.  While talking about this super-bomb, idle talk turned to what kind of sound such a detonation might make.  "Sh-Boom" (the sound) was their eventual answer, and soon this phrase became the the core of a song about the impact of sudden love, not a sudden H-bomb attack!

The song was first recorded on Atlantic Records' subsidiary label Cat Records by The Chords on March 15, 1954 and would be their only hit song. "Sh-Boom" reached #2 on the Billboard R&B charts and peaked at #9 on the pop charts.  It is sometimes considered to be the first doo-wop or rock 'n' roll record to reach the top ten on the pop charts (as opposed to the R&B charts). This version was ranked #215 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is the group's only song on the list.

Now you too can go Sh-Boom!


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