I’ve only been able to find out a little bit about this guy, but I’m still digging. He was born around Athens, Georgia, probably around 1940. His real name is Allen Hartley Turpin. The members of the Heartbeats were Richard Turpin, Mike Castellon, Butch Bohannon, and Ronnie Hurley.
Al became well known for playing in the Big Hugh Baby Hops, which were put on by WFOM dee jay Hugh “Baby” Jarrett. Hugh had been a member of the Jordanaires, the group that backed Elvis Presley, up until around the time Elvis joined the Army. Donny Whitehead played saxophone for the Heartbeats for a while. He had been a member of the Jesters, and also played with Judge And Jury and the Embers in the Athens area.
This song was written by Richard Turpin, probably Allen’s brother, who was also the drummer with the band. It was released on Hermitage 773 in 1962 and is worth around $75 to Teener collectors today.
If you can add anything else to this story, please let me know. I can tell you that this is NOT the famous Al Hartley who made comic books, nor is it Al Hart who recorded a single for Mercury records. Al Hart was “The Voice of KCBS News” in San Francisco for over 50 years. I’m hoping to track down more info about Allen Hartley Turpin through his grandson, who has a few videos posted on YouTube showing off his talents as a self-taught piano player. If that information is correct, he apparently inherited some of his grandfather’s musical talent!