Shep Fields

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Shep Fields
Shep Fields 1957.JPG
Shep Fields in 1957
Background information
Birth nameSaul Feldman
Born(1910-09-12)September 12, 1910
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 23, 1981(1981-02-23) (aged 70)
Los Angeles, California
GenresJazz, big band
External audio
You may hear the Shep Fields Orchestra performing "Don't Blame Me" by Dorothy Fields/Jimmy McHugh and "Rippling Rhythm" by Sol Gice in 1948 Here

Shep Fields (September 12, 1910 – February 23, 1981) was the band leader for the "Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm" orchestra during the Big Band era of the 1930s.[1][2]


He was born Saul Feldman in Brooklyn, New York, on September 12, 1910, and his mother's maiden name was Sowalski.[3] Edward Fields, a carpet manufacturer, and Freddie Fields were his brothers. Their father died at the age of 39.[4]

He played clarinet and tenor saxophone in bands during college. In 1931 he played at the Roseland Ballroom.[5] By 1933 he led a band that played at Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel. In 1934 he replaced the Jack Denny Orchestra at the Hotel Pierre in New York City. He left the Hotel Pierre to join a roadshow with the dancers Veloz and Yolanda.[5] In 1936 he was booked at Chicago's Palmer House, and the concert was broadcast on radio.

Fields was at a soda fountain when his wife was blowing bubbles into her soda through a straw, and that sound became his trademark that opened each of his shows.[5][6] A contest was held in Chicago for fans to suggest a new name for the Fields band, in keeping with the new sound. The word "rippling" was suggested in more than one entry, and Fields came up with "Rippling Rhythm."

In 1936 he received a contract with Bluebird Records. His hits included "Cathedral in the Pines", "Did I Remember?", and "Thanks for the Memory". In 1937 Fields replaced Paul Whiteman with the radio show The Rippling Rhythm Revue with Bob Hope as the announcer.[2] In 1938, Fields and Hope were featured in his first feature-length motion picture, The Big Broadcast of 1938.[5][7]

In 1941 Fields revamped the band into an all-reeds group, with no brass section, known as Shep Fields and His New Music, featuring vocalist Ken Curtis.[8][9] From February, 1943 to August, 1944, guitarist Joe Negri worked with the band. Fields reverted to "Rippling Rhythm" in 1947.

The group disbanded in 1963.[5] He moved to Houston, Texas where he worked as a disc jockey. He later worked at Creative Management Associates with his brother Freddie Fields in Los Angeles.[5] He died on February 23, 1981 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a heart attack.[10][11][12] He was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in New York.


External audio
You may hear the Shep Fields Rippling Rhythm Orchestra performing the fox trot "In the Merry Month of May" with the accordionist John Serry Sr. in 1938 Here


External audio
You may hear the Shep Fields Rippling Rhythm Orchestra performing "September in the Rain"with the vocalist Bobby Goday in 1937 Here

Live broadcasts[edit]



  1. ^ "Big-band leader Shep Fields dies". Chicago Tribune. February 24, 1981. Retrieved 2010-05-16. Bandleader Shep Fields, 70, who rose to fame in the big-band era with an orchestra that opened its performances with a sound called Rippling Rhythm, died Monday of a heart attack.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Shep Fields dies, noted bandleader". Associated Press in The Telegraph. February 24, 1981. Retrieved 2010-05-17. Bandleader Shep Fields who recorded "The Jersey Bounce" ...
  3. ^ California Death Index
  4. ^ "Carpet King Steps Up". Milwaukee Sentinel. April 5, 1962. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Band Leader Shep Fields Dies of Heart Attack at 70". United Press International in the Eugene Register-Guard. February 4, 1981. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  6. ^ "Shep Fields". Washington Post. July 12, 1957. Shep Fields admits that his wife, Evelyn, was responsible for the bubbling water through a straw sound that has identified his music for a score of years.
  7. ^ a b Stanley Green and Elaine Schmidt (2000). Hollywood musicals year by year. ISBN 0-634-00765-3. To justify the movie's title — and the inclusion in the cast of such diverse talents as Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm, ...
  8. ^ a b c d e "Shep Fields Makes Decided Hit Here With New Rhythm". Ottawa Citizen. August 26, 1941. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
  9. ^ "Patriotic Notes". Time. November 4, 1941. Retrieved 2010-05-17. Dedicator was Bandleader Shep Fields, who lately gave up his trade-mark "Rippling Rhythm," threw out his brass, concentrated on nine saxophones.
  10. ^ "Shep Fields, Leader Of Big Band Known For Rippling Rhythm". New York Times. February 24, 1981. Retrieved 2008-06-23. Shep Fields, the band leader who made his fame and fortune in the 1930s and 40s with a unique sound he called Rippling Rhythm, died of a heart attack yesterday in Los Angeles. He was 70 years old. Mr. Fields developed the Rippling Rhythm sound in 1936 when he ...
  11. ^ "Shep Fields Dies. Was Bandleader". United Press International in Hartford Courant. February 24, 1981. Bandleader Shep Fields, who rose to fame in the big band era with an orchestra that opened its performances with a sound called Rippling Rhythm, died Monday of a heart attack. He was 70.
  12. ^ "Died". Time. March 9, 1981. Retrieved 2008-06-23. Shep Fields, 70, bandleader who was known during the 1930s and '40s for his Rippling Rhythm, a bubbly blend of light, catchy orchestrations and the sound made by blowing through a straw into a bowl of water near the microphone; of a heart attack; in Los Angeles.
  13. ^ Brian Arthur Lovell Rust (1975). The American Dance Band Discography 1917-1942. ISBN 0-87000-248-1.
  14. ^ "Musician, arranger Lou Halmy dies at 93". The Register-Guard. March 22, 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-16. Halmy was born in Budapest, Hungary, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 2. He made his mark as a trumpet player with East Coast outfits including Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra, a society band that played on The Woodbury Hour With Bob Hope and in The Big Broadcast of 1938, a film starring Hope, W.C. Fields and Dorothy Lamour.
  15. ^ "Great Depression a gold mine for musicians". The Register-Guard. February 15, 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-16. When trumpet star and jazz arranger Lou Halmy looks back on the Great Depression of the 1930s, it doesn't seem depressing at all. 'I was lucky,' the 91-year-old Eugene musician says. 'I was playing with a band and working all the time. We had a steady job, which was the rarest thing in music.' While many people were standing in bread lines and living in shanty camps, Halmy was inside New York's posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, cheering people up by playing his horn in one of the most popular dance bands of the era: Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm ...
  16. ^ "Sid Caesar". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 2010-05-19. He studied saxophone at Juilliard, and later played with nationally famous bands (Charlie Spivak, Claude Thornhill, Shep Fields, Art Mooney).
  17. ^ Brennan, Patricia (August 11, 2002). "Sid Caesar, whose name is s ..." Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-16. Sid Caesar ... He went on to play in a series of big bands, including those of Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak, Shep Fields, Art Mooney and Benny Goodman. ...
  18. ^ The American Dance Band Discography 1917-1942 Volume 1. Rust, Brian. Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, 1975, Pg. 516-517 ISBN 0-87000-248-1
  19. ^ The Los Angeles Examiner, October 9, 1938, pg. 1

Further reading[edit]

  • Washington Post; February 7, 1937 "Shep Fields in Town Wednesday for Dance."
  • Washington Post; May 8, 1937 "'Wings of the Morning,' in Technicolor, And Shep Fields Share Honors at Earle. Racing Picture and Ace Band Divide Top Spots on Bill of General Appeal."
  • Washington Post; January 17, 1939 "Los Angeles, January 16, 1939 (United Press) Mrs. Myra Wallace, wife of a music publisher, learned tonight the $10,000 banknote which she tossed to Shep Fields, orchestra leader, for playing one her favorite numbers might be legal -- not stage money as she had thought."

External links[edit]