Often acknowledged as a pioneer for women in Country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956 and 1981, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955.
After Kitty Wells’ 1952 breakthrough, Shepard quickly followed, and a national television gig and the Opry helped make her a star when few female Country singers had enduring success. Her first hit, “A Dear John Letter”, a 1953 duet with Ferlin Husky, was the first post-World War II record by a woman Country artist to sell more than a million copies.
In 2005, Shepard celebrated 50 years as a member of the Opry and, at the time of her death, she was the longest-running living member of the Opry. In 2011, Shepard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with songwriter Bobby Braddock and fellow Oklahoma singer Reba McEntire. On November 21, 2015, Shepard became the first woman to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 60 consecutive years—a feat that only one other person has achieved. She retired from the stage that night.