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Episode #541 – The Heartbeats

Air Week: September 14-20, 2020

The Heartbeats

With so many wonderful vocal groups present during the 1950s, it took a few distinct ones to lead the pack and blaze the trail. The Heartbeats are always right up there with The Clovers, Harptones, Moonglows, Flamingos and the other leaders who carried the torch lit by the Orioles and Ravens during the late ’40s. The Heartbeats began as the Hearts in 1953, but before making their first record in 1955, changed their name after a female group called The Hearts scored a big hit with “Lonely Nights.” Their first record came out in mid-1955 on Network Records. Although it was not successful, it gave them something to interest Hull Records, a tiny startup looking to enter the vocal group scene. Their first few records for Hull got regional airplay and made the charts in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It was “A Thousand Miles Away,” their 4th Hull single that really took off nationally. Knowing the record would do better on a label with greater distribution and push, they jumped over to George Goldner’s storied Rama Records and “A Thousand Miles Away” went top 5 R&B and #53 Pop. Now one of the biggest vocal groups in the country, they continued to release slightly more polished songs for Rama and Gee, before falling apart by the end of 1959. Matt The Cat presents The Heartbeats’ story and their fantastic music on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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