Tags: jean shepard | dies | country music | grand ole opry

Jean Shepard, Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 82

Image: Jean Shepard, Country Music Hall of Famer, Dies at 82

Longtime country music star Jean Shepard was known as "the grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry." (Capitol Records, file)

By    |   Monday, 26 Sep 2016 12:47 PM

Jean Shepard, a longtime country music star known as "the grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry," died Sunday in Nashville. She was 82.

Shepard had recently entered hospice care, Fox News reported.

Shepard set the standard for women in country music after joining the cast of the Grand Ole Opry — the radio broadcast she listened to as a child — in 1955, Fox News noted. Shepard toured as a solo act, giving country music audiences a strong female point of view.

“She’s one of those people who opened doors,” Opry announcer and WSM DJ Eddie Stubbs said in 2015, according to The Tennessean. “There were some she had to push open and some others she had to kick her way through.”

Two songs she’s known for are “Twice the Lovin’ in Half the Time” and “The Root of All Evil (Is a Man).”

In 1956, Shepard released country music’s first concept album, “Songs From a Love Affair.”

According to the Grand Ole Opry website, Shepard was discovered at the age of 14 by Western swing musician Hank Thompson, who saw her perform for the first time when she was singing and playing bass for Melody Ranch Girls, an all-girl group that she and four other girls started while in high school.

“(Nelson) didn’t want to sign me. He wasn’t really sold on female singers,” Shepard said in 2015 when reminiscing on Thompson and the producer and label executive of Capitol Records, Ken Nelson, according to The Tennessean. “But Hank Thompson was a very big artist at Capitol Records and he could demand things from (the label), which he did.”

She had her first country hit before joining the Opry, collaborating with Hall of Famer Ferlin Husky on “A Dear John Letter,” Fox News noted.

In 2005, Shepard became the first female artist to celebrate 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher released a statement, saying “The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean’s passing. Although we will miss Jean’s presence on the Opry stage, she has left us the wonderful gift of her music which will be remembered for generations to come.”

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Jean Shepard, a longtime country music star known as the "grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry," died Sunday in Nashville. She was 82.
jean shepard, dies, country music, grand ole opry
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Monday, 26 Sep 2016 12:47 PM
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