Famous 1950s Singer Dies of Dementia at 81

May 09, 2018

Gale Shepherd of the famous Shepherd Sisters vocal quartet died on Monday at a care facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She was 81.


According to her daughter, Dina Miller, Shepherd passed away after a long battle with dementia.


Shepherd grew up singing at her church in Middletown, Ohio and eventually performed locally with her sisters, Martha and MaryLou as a teenager.



The sisters got their big break when they performed on the variety show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” a show that pitted young musicians against each other.


Their first hit was “Gone With the Wind” in 1956 which got the attention of Dick Clark, which led the sisters to appear on his TV show “American Bandstand” multiple times.


In 1957, the group added a fourth sister, Judith, and released their biggest hit, “Alone,” which reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year.



The Shepherd Sisters performed on “America’s Greatest Teenage Recording Stars” concert tour alongside Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. They also recorded more hit singles such as “Congratulations to Someone” and “Don’t Mention My Name.”


The group decided to stop performing and settle down in the mid-1960s.



Joyce Gale Shepherd was born in Middletown, Ohio on May 31, 1936, to Douglas and Pearl Shepherd. Her father was a steelworker and her mother a homemaker.


She married record producer Jimmy Miller, known for his work with the Rolling Stones, in the early 1960s, but the marriage later ended in divorce. About a decade later she married Martin Vale, but that marriage also failed and they separated.


She is survived by her husband and daughter, Dina, as well as her sister MaryLou Brooks. Her sister Martha died in 1992 and sister Judith in 2009.

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