Fields grew up in Oklahoma. He began training as an electrician and played in the marching band of the Tuskegee Institute trombone. In Tulsa, he worked as an amateur musician and played the saxophone. In the early 1920s he founded the band Royal Entertainers, with which he appeared first in Tulsa County in pubs, at dance events and fairs. Only in the 1930s, he began professionally with his Territory band to tour the southwestern United States, to him in 1939 the producer John Hammond, who had stars like Charlie Christian and Benny Goodman under contract, and shortly discovered undertook for his label Vocalion.
Since the late 1940s, Fields worked with a smaller band and changed stylistically from big band swing to rhythm and blues. In the late 1950s he moved to Los Angeles to direct the studio band for Rendezvous Records, played the pianist Ernie Freeman, guitarist Rene Hall, Plas Johnson saxophonist and drummer Earl Palmer. An international hit was his rehearsed with the band R & B version of Glenn Miller's In the Mood of 1959. It reached number 4 in the U.S. charts and # 13 in the UK. Even with a version of Miller's Chattanooga Choo Choo, he was successful. 1966 Fields retired from the music business to work as a promoter and talent manager in Tulsa.
Fields son Ernie Fields Jr. was known as a saxophonist, bandleader, and music producer.