Riley Shepard died at age 90, singer and songwriter who fought to get great
respect for early country western performers in the 1940's.
Richard Riley Shepard, (who also used many pseudonyms such as Dickson Hall and
Dick Scott) died on Friday, November 6, 2009 in a nursing home in Porterville,
California. He was 90 years old. His daughter, Stacya Shepard Silverman
announced his death.
"Shepard was at the vanguard of demanding greater respect and appropriate pay
for major country artists, and moved away from the term hillbilly" said writer
Kevin Coffey. Using the name Dick Scott, he started agitating for more respect
across the board for country performers. With Leeds Publishing, he pushed
for better deals for country songwriters and was also instrumental in trying to
get pop performers to record country songs with great success. As a promoter,
he signed up performers like Red Foley and pushed for better
pay for country performers, who were being ripped off by radio
station "Artist Bureaus" who booked these acts for low money and then
took a huge cut.
Born in 1918 in New Hanover (near Wilmington), North Carolina he was named
Richard Riley Shepard, "Riley" after his grandfather, a Primitive Baptist
minister who had 18 children. He left home early to pursue a career
in show business, by age 13 he was performing on local stages
doing comedy, singing, and playing the guitar. He worked for the
Dixie Reelers, and also local radio stations in Raleigh
In 1945 he moved to the East Coast and cut records for King, Musicraft,
Majestic, Sterling, Signature and other labels. In 1946 he recorded
the popular song "Atomic Power" about the atomic bomb
on Musicraft label. He also worked for the popular singing trio
The Andrew Sisters.
He was the host of the Oklahoma Roundup in Oklahoma City
on network broadcast in 1947.
Riley Shepard was married up to six times and had several children.
In addition to his daughter Stacya Shepard Silverman, Shepard is survived by his
son, Richard Shepard and daughters Leslie Sullivan
and Lisa Shepard.
(Note: Some news media sites
require user registration to read articles and/or to send you 'targeted' email