CHIPS MOMAN,
1937-2016

Lincoln "Chips" Moman, the Memphis-based guitarist, producer and songwriter who created landmark works in R&B, country and with Elvis Presley, died Monday in his hometown of LaGrange, Ga.. He was 79.

In Memphis, Moman helped develop what would become Stax Records in the late 1950s and, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, led the house band at American Sound Studios where Dusty Springfield’s "Son of a Preacher Man," Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline,” Joe Tex’s "I Gotcha" and Presley’s "Suspicious Minds," “Kentucky Rain” and “In The Ghetto” were recorded. Among his compositions are the soul standard "Dark End of the Street," “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and country classic "Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)."

One of the most significant members of the Memphis music scene in the second half of the 20th century, Moman moved to Tennessee at 17 with the hope of becoming a rockabilly star. After Sun Records singer Warren Smith discovered him, Moman joined Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, recording in L.A. at the Gold Star Recording Studios. Upon returning to Memphis, Moman did a session with Jim Stewart just as he was about to start the Stax precursor, Satellite Records.

Using his Gold Star experience as an education, Moman moved became a producer and recorded the label's early hits by Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and William Bell, and helped guide the label from country to R&B. Their affiliation ended when Stewart’s sister, Estelle Axton, joined her brother to create Stax in 1962.

Moman moved over to American Sound Studios where the house band, known as the Memphis Boys, would create more than 120 records that charted including Presley’s comeback recordings of 1969. He famously got Alex Chilton to pronounce airplane as “aeroplane” on The Box Tops’ “The Letter” and had the audacity to tell Presley he couldn’t sing in key. Moman moved to Atlanta in 1972, but soon left after the label he set-up struggled.

He went to Nashville and worked as a songwriter and producer, penning "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" for B.J. Thomas, which would garner him his first of two Grammy Awards—for Best Country Song. He also wrote for and produced Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette and Ronnie Milsap.

Before moving to Georgia to raise horses, he wrapped his production career with the 1986 release Class of ’55: Memphis Rock & Roll Homecoming, a collaboration between Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. He won the Best Spoken Word Grammy for the interviews on the album.

ON THE BMM COVER:
RICO WADE
ATL legend (6/17a)
NEAR TRUTHS: THE HITS KEEP COMING (PART TWO)
Born in 1986 by mad scientists; still lurking. (6/17a)
HITS LIST GOES COUNTRY
Pairs well with grits and gravy. (6/14a)
SUMMERTIME ROLLS: FESTIVAL SEASON IS UPON US
The latest tidbits from the bustling live sector. (6/17a)
IS MCK ABOUT TO
MAKE A BIG MOVE?
This would be a great get. (6/17a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)