Hello, The Heartbeats were a 1950s doo-wop group from Queens, New York. Members included James “Shep” Sheppard, Wally Roker, Walter Crump, Robbie Adams and Vernon Walker. The group formed in the mid 1950s and originally were called “The Hearts”. They changed their name in 1955 when a female group with the same name had a #8 hit on the Billboard R&B chart LONELY NIGHTS.
On November 17, 1956 The Heartbeats charted what would become a doo-wop classic, A THOUSAND MILES AWAY, on Rama Records. The record climbed the Billboard R&B chart, to #5 and remained on the chart for 15 weeks. The single was originally released on Hull Records and then picked up by Rama. That would be the groups only R&B hit record to make the national chart. Their hit single would also become a Billboard Top 100 hit, making its way on to the chart on December 22, 1956 and working its way to #53. The single would remain on the Top 100 for 16 weeks.
The Heartbeats would have one more Top 100 hit, EVERYBODY’S SOMEBODY’S FOOL, also on Rama. The single would debut on July 15, 1957 and reach #78. They would release a few more records none of which would reach the national charts. The group split up in 1959 and Sheppard went on to form “Shep and The Limelites”.
In 1960 Rama Records reissued A THOUSAND MILES AWAY. The single charted for just one week at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100. James “Shep” Sheppard was murdered in 1970 at the age of 34. The groups big hit is still very popular on oldies radio and is considered a doo-wop classic. The Heartbeats remain a popular vocal group in the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll”.
Till the next time—Joe