by Bill DahlLead singer James Shep Sheppard co-wrote a series of velvety doo wop ballads for the Heartbeats during the mid-50s; one entry, A Thousand Miles Away, was a huge R&B seller in 1956. The Queens, NY, quintet began their string of street-corner classics with Crazy for You and Darling How Long, culminating with A Thousand Miles Away. The Heartbeats recorded for Hull, Rama, Roulette, Gee, and Guyden before packing it in. In 1961 the lead singer formed a new trio, Shep & the Limelites, and scored on the charts with a heartwarming sequel to his first hit, Daddys Home, for Hull. Our Anniversary also sold well for the trio the next year, but they broke up soon thereafter. Sheppard was found dead in his auto on the Long Island Expressway in 1970.