Chips Moman's genius began in the studio, where he instituted technical innovations that forever changed the recording industry, but it expanded from there with an uncanny ability to recognize hit songs when he heard them as rough demos, and then blossomed with an unsurpassed string of hit records. He rescued Elvis Presley's career with his recordings of "Suspicious Minds" and "In the Ghetto," and he provided Willie Nelson with one of his most memorable signature songs, "Always on My Mind." Not bad for a Georgia country boy who dropped out of school in the eighth grade and hitchhiked to Memphis in search of the American Dream.
"I think the Chips Moman story has provided me with the best book I have written since Colonel Tom Parker, which was purchased by Warner Bros. for its Elvis film starring Tom Hanks," says author James L. Dickerson. "I anticipate great interest in a movie based on Moman's story. Small wonder. He has been called the "Steve McQueen of the music business.'"
By any measure-sales, multi-genre capability, number of hit records, technical innovation, artistry, etc.-Lincoln "Chips" Moman was the most important record producer in American history. With several hundred hits to his credit in pop, country, rhythm & blues, and rock, both from record production and songwriting, Chips Moman is legendary within the music industry. This biography is the story of his life.
Early on, Chips Moman was a co-founder of Memphis's Stax Records, along with Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Moman found the location for the studio, organized the recording system, recruited the early talent and produced the legendary soul music record label's first two hits-"Gee Whiz" by Carla Thomas and "Last Night," an instrumental by the Mar-Keys.
As a record producer, he rescued Elvis Presley's career with hits such as "Suspicious Minds, "In the Ghetto," and "Kentucky Rain." He produced music icons such as Petula Clark and Dionne Warwick. In rock and pop he is associated with the Gentrys ("Keep on Dancing"), the Box Tops ("The Letter"), Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," Sandy Posey ("Born a Woman" and "Single Girl" ), Paul Revere & The Raiders ("Goin' to Memphis"), Dusty Springfield ("Son of a Preacher Man"), Ringo Starr (an unreleased album which the author listened to and considers among Ringo's best; the album ended up in a celebrated court case); B.J. Thomas ("Hooked on a Feeling," "The Eyes of a New York Woman," and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Someone Wrong Song."
In country music, he produced Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind" and numerous other albums; he originated the super group the Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kristofferson) and produced two of their three albums; Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard (Pancho & Lefty), plus albums with Tammy Wynette, Gary Stewart, Brenda Lee and others. Moman also recorded a country album, as of now unreleased, with actor Robert Duvall, who got permission from Moman to use him as a model for the character he played in Tender Mercies, a role for which he was awarded an Oscar.