He was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 12, 1910, and his mother's maiden name was Sowalski.] Edward Fields, a carpet manufacturer; and Freddie Fields were his brothers. Their father died at the age of 39.He played the clarinet and tenor sax in bands during college. In 1931 he played at the Roseland Ballroom.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. 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. 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 recording 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 in his time slot with a radio show called The Rippling Rhythm Revue with Bob Hope as the announcer.In 1938, Fields and Hope were featured in his first feature-length motion picture, The Big Broadcast of 1938.
In 1941 Fields revamped the band into an all-reeds group, with no brass section. "Shep Fields and His New Music," featuring band vocalist Ken Curtis. He reverted to "Rippling Rhythm" in 1947.
The group disbanded in 1963.He moved to Houston, Texas where he worked as a disc jockey. Helater worked at Creative Management Associates with his brother Freddie Fields in Los Angeles. He died on February 23, 1981 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a heart attack. He was buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery in New York.