One of the first women in country music to break down the gender barrier, and a six decade member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. Jean Shepard, famous for recording such iconic songs as “A Satisfied Mind,” “Beautiful Lies,” and her duet with Ferlin Husky on the iconic “A Dear John Letter” passed away Sunday, September 24th. She was 82-years-old.
Country music legend, female trailblazer, and the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry Jean Shepard has entered hospice care after being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit earlier this week. This is the news from her son, Hawkshaw Hawkins Jr.
Jean Shepard Is Angry Over Today’s Country Music “And I Don’t Care Who Knows It, I’ll Tell the World.”
An Opry member for going on six decades, Shepard is set to celebrate her 60th Anniversary on the stage show November 21st. Ahead of the special night, she sat down with The Tennessean’s Juli Thanki to talk about how she helped open doors for the women of country music. Shepard was also very outspoken about how she feels about the country music of today.
With the passing of the 94-year-old “Little” Jimmy Dickens at the beginning of 2015, it’s a reminder for us to cherish the final living links to country music’s most legendary past who can still tell stories of how country music once was. The amount of performers who were important in forming the very foundation of country music are quickly fading away.
Bill Monroe, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Osborne, Buck Owens, Buck White, Carter Stanley, Don Maddox, Eddie Arnold, Elvis, George Jones, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Harold Bradley, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Jim Ed Brown, Joe Pennington, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Owen Bradley, Pee Wee King, Ralph Stanley, Ray Price, Red Simpson, Ricky Skaggs, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Roy Orbison, Stonewall Jackson, Studio 'A', The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Grand Ole Opry, The Quonset Hut, The Stanley Brothers, The Whites, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM