Thursday, 29 September 2016

Country Music Hall of Famer Jean Shepard dies aged 82

Ollie Imogene "Jean" Shepard Nov 21, 1933 - Sept 25, 2016 (aged 82)

Trailblazer Jean Shepard, a Country Music Hall of Fame member & 
member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 60 years dies at the age of 82.
Pure honky-tonk voice and consistently vibrant recordings with their tales of romantic entanglements made her one of the most important country artists of the last half of the Twentieth century

Montage Tribute: CLICK to ENLARGE

(25 Sept 2015)
Opry Matriarch Jean Shepard Passes at 82

Honky-tonk siren, independent-female country pioneer, Grand Ole Opry matriarch and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jean Shepard has passed away at age 82.

She entered hospice and reportedly died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on Sunday, Sept 25, 2016.
Jean Shepard & Benny Birchfield (Husband)
Hall Of Fame Medallion Ceremony in 2011

Jean Shepard is the 4th Country Music Hall Of Famer to pass away in 2016. Sonny James, Merle Haggard and Bonnie Brown are the others

Among her 45 charted country titles over three decades are such enduring favorites as “A Dear John Letter,” “A Satisfied Mind,” “Second Fiddle” and “Slippin’ Away.”
Her fiery, outspoken manner made her one of the most memorable country personalities of her era.
Born Ollie Imogene Shepard on Nov. 21, 1933, she was the fifth of 10 children born to an Oklahoma sharecropper. The family moved to California during the Dust Bowl Migration. Desperately poor during the Great Depression, her parents hocked their furniture to buy her an upright bass so that she could pursue a career in music.
Shepard joined The Melody Ranch Girls all-female band while still in school. At age 15, she was singing every weekend in the towns around Bakersfield, CA. Honky-tonk superstar Hank Thompson discovered her and brought her to Capitol Records.

Her first single, “Crying Steel Guitar Waltz,” (1955) failed to dent the Billboard charts, but she would soon pair with Ferlin Husky for the 1953’s million-selling “A Dear John Letter.” He spoke a Korean War soldier’s recitation while she sang the song’s refrain. Because she was only 18 when they toured together, her parents made Husky her legal guardian. However Shepard couldn’t tour to promote the single. She was a minor at the time, and she told Billboard in 2014 that you had to be 21 years old to leave the state in those days.

Beginning at age 21, she scored a string of hits on her own, including “A Satisfied Mind” (1955), “Beautiful Lies” (1955) and “I Want to Go Where No One Knows Me” (1958).
Her 1954 LP SONGS OF A LOVE AFFAIR was country music’s first female “concept” album.
Shepard’s 1955 hit “I Thought of You” was later the song that launched the career of her fellow Hall of Fame member Connie Smith. Jean Shepard joined The Ozark Jubilee in Missouri, then became a breakthrough female solo singer on the Grand Ole Opry.
She became a member on her birthday, Nov. 21, 1955.
She was named Cash Box Magazine’s Top Female Country Singer of 1959.
During her early career, she was chaperoned by Husky and then by Hawkshaw Hawkins, whom she married in 1960. After Hawkins died in the 1963 plane crash that also killed her friend Patsy Cline, Shepard was left to fend for herself in a male-dominated industry....
Read More

She was the single mother of two sons, battling for her rights.
She said she developed her feisty, sassy personality as a result.
Her hits of the 1960s included the yodeling standout “Second Fiddle” (1964), the peppy “Many Happy Hangovers to You” (1966), her Ray Pillow divorce duet “I’ll Take the Dog” (1966) and the classic “If Teardrops Were Silver” (1966; >> Video).
Other memorable singles during this era included “Heart We Did All That We Could” (1967), “Your Forevers Don’t Last Very Long” (1967) and the standard “Seven Lonely Days” (1969).
In the 1970s, she continued to score with such hits as her Grammy Award nominated “Then He Touched Me” (1970), plus “A Woman’s Hand” (1970) and “Another Lonely Night” (1971).
Shepard moved from Capitol to United Artists Records and reignited her chart fortunes with the Bill Anderson songs “Slippin’ Away” (1973), “At the Time” (1974), “Poor Sweet Baby” (1974) and the evergreen “The Tip of My Fingers” (1975). ..Read More at

Yesteryear In Nashville - Jean Shepard Published on Nov 27, 2015 Archie Campbell interviews Jean Shepard TNN 1983

Jean Shepard - Seven Lonely Days Published on Jan 9, 2016

Jean Shepard - Above and Beyond:

Jean Shepard - The Tips Of My Fingers Published on Sep 12, 2012
Country Family Reunion Second Generaton:

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

The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean’s passing,” Grand Ole Opry general manager Pete Fisher said. “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.”

MANY HAPPY HANGOVERS Released: May 1966 Label: Capitol #6
HEART, WE DID ALL THAT WE COULD Released: January 1967 Label: Capitol #6

Noteworthy Songs
1953: “A Dear John Letter” (No. 1) >> YouTube Country Family Reunion
1955: “A Satisfied Mind” (No. 4) (Written by Joe "Red" Hayes - Jack Rhodes). >> Audio
1964: “Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)” (No. 5) Opry Video Classics >> YouTube
1966: “Many Happy Hangovers to You” (No. 13) >> Audio
1966: “I’ll Take the Dog,” a duet with Ray Pillow (No. 9) >> Audio
1967: ”Heart We Did All We Could” (No.12) 1967 title cut and 2nd single writer Ned Miller
1973: "Slippin' Away" (written by singer-songwriter Bill Anderson) (No.4)
Country Family Reunion Video

Songwriter: Bill Anderson Publisher: Stallion Music, Inc. (BMI)
1975: "The Tip of My Fingers" (No.16) Album: Poor Sweet Baby (And Ten More Bill Anderson Songs) writer Bill Anderson
1974: "Poor Sweet Baby" (No.14)
1976 *** "Ain't Love Good" (No.41) Album: Mercy/ Ain't Love Good

"Leavin' Fever" Intro: 0:06 Total Duration: 2:16 Tempo: Fast Songwriters: Tommy Cash and Lorrie Morgan Publishers: Tomcat Music (BMI) and Acuff-Rose (BMI)

Jean Shepard - The Melody Ranch Girl Box Set 5-CD (Bear Family-Rollercoaster)
Audio CD (1 Jan. 2010)
Number of Discs: 5
Format: Box set
Label: Bear Family-Rollercoaster
Jean Shepard: The Melody Ranch Girl (5-CD) 5-CD box (LP-size) with 36-page book, 151 tracks. Playing time approx. 375 mns. When Jean Shepard burst onto the country music scene in 1952, she had few female role models to follow. In the early 1950s, country music was still a largely male-dominated business and some people actually believed women were incapable of selling large numbers of country records. With the help of country bandleader and singer Hank Thompson, Jean landed a recording contract with Capitol Records and managed to change that opinion.
The Melody Ranch Girl Box Set 5-CD

Presented here are 151 legendary sides that Shepard recorded for Capitol between 1952 and 1964. 

The set includes her first number one single A Dear John Letter (featuring Ferlin Husky), Two Hoops And A Holler, A Satisfied Mind, Beautiful Lies and Second Fiddle (To An Old Guitar). 

This set features material from Jean's 1955 landmark album 'Songs Of A Love Affair' which is widely acknowledged as the first concept album recorded by a female country artist as well as her 'Got You On My Mind', 'Lonesome Love' and 'Heartaches And Tears' albums. Included in addition is a 36-page book with a newly researched biography by Chris Skinker, a discography and numerous rare photos.

Discography Amazon UK | UK iTunes

(5 Aug 2016) Jean Shepard - Country Music: Pure and Simple 50 Track Best Of 2-CD (Humphead)
50 Tracks | Amazon UK |

Jean Shepard Obituary - Alan
Country Music Hall of Famer Jean Shepard dead at 82 - The Tennessean
Grand Ole Opry Star Jean Shepard Dies –
Opry Star Jean Shepard Dies - Taste Of Country
Grand Ole Opry Icon Jean Shepard Dead at 82 -  Rollingstone
Jean Shepard Passes at 82 – Music Row

Related Posts
November 6, 2015: Jean Shepard Is Angry Over Today’s Country Music “And I Don’t Care Who Knows It, I’ll Tell the World.”
I’m very adamant about how I feel about country music. And I don’t care who knows it, I’ll tell the world,” Shepard said. “Country music today is not the country music of yesterday. It’s a lot more important than that. Candy coated country don’t make it. They candy coat it and try to be something they ain’t. Well it ain’t gonna work my friend.”
It’s a good fight for a good cause and I mean that with all my heart,” Shepard continued. “Today’s country is not country, and I’m very adamant about that. I’ll tell anybody who’ll listen, and some of those who don’t want to listen, I’ll tell them anyway. … Country music today isn’t genuine.”
Shepard also had some more veiled criticism for the Grand Ole Opry.
Sixty years ago, I loved what the Grand Ole Opry stood for,” she told The Tennessean. “I still love what it stands for, but not quite so much. Isn’t it terrible being so truthful?”

Her sons are Don Robin Hawkins, Harold Franklin Hawkins II and Corey Birchfield.

She is also survived by husband Benny Birchfield and by several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A public visitation was set and held at Hendersonville Funeral Home, located at 353 East Main Street, HENDERSONVILLE, TN on Thursday, September 29th from 12p to 8p (CT) and Friday, September 30th from 11a to 1p (CT).
A celebration of life service will follow on Friday (Sept 30) at 1p (CT). The public is welcome to both the visitation and the service

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