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What are some biographical facts about Jean Shepard?

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Quick Answer

One biographical fact about Jean Shepard is that she started her musical career as a teenager playing bass in an all-female band called The Melody Ranch Girls. Country music entertainer Hank Thompson discovered Shepard shortly after the band formed and secured her a record deal at Capitol Records.

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Full Answer

Jean Shepard was born in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma as one of ten children. She grew up in Southern California in the area around Bakersfield. Shepard first hit the charts in 1953 with the songs "A Dear John Letter" and "Forgive Me John," both duets she sung with Ferlin Husky. Two years later she landed her first solo single in the top 10 with "A Satisfied Mind," and had another hit shortly after. Because of her success, the Grand Ole Opry inducted her as a member in 1956.

Shepard found difficulty making it back onto the top of the charts during the late 1950s and early 60s. In 1963 her husband, Hawkshaw Hawkins, died in a plane crash with fellow country artist Patsy Cline. Starting with the song "Second Fiddle (To an Old Guitar)" in 1964, Shepard achieved a string of hits throughout the following six years. In the early 70s she moved to UA Records and recorded hit songs such as "Poor Sweet Baby," "At the Time" and "Tips of My Fingers." Jean Shepard was the first female country musician to sell one million records.

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