Memphis Producer and Songwriter Chips Moman Dead at 79
Memphis music icon Lincoln "Chips" Moman has died at the age of 79. He was an Elvis Presley producer, prolific songwriter and studio owner. He was the mastermind behind many hits that emerged from Memphis in the '60s.
According to the Commercial Appeal, Moman passed away at a hospice facility in his hometown of LaGrange, Ga., on Monday (June 13), after suffering from poor health for a number of years. His longtime friend and Memphis Mafia member Marty Lacker confirmed the sad news.
Moman was born June 12, 1937 in LaGrange. He moved to Memphis as a teenager and played in Johnny Burnette and Gene Vincent's road bands. Eventually, he began working with Satellite Records (which became Stax Records) as a writer and engineer. He produced their first hit single, "Gee Whiz" by Carla Thomas and worked on William Bell's "You Don't Miss Your Water." He left in 1962 after a dispute with co-founder Jim Stewart.
Moman opened up his own Memphis studio, American Sound Studio, and his house band was known as the Memphis Boys. From there, he produced Presley's 1969 record From Elvis in Memphis as well as songs including "In the Ghetto," "Suspicious Minds," "Luckenbach Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)" and "Kentucky Rain." He also helped write Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" and "The Dark End of the Street." Moman's studio produced more than 120 charting singles in the late '60s and early '70s.
Moman then settled in Nashville and worked as a songwriter and producer. He worked with stars including B.J. Thomas and wrote "(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings (which earned him a Grammy). He also co-wrote Jennings' "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)" and recorded the first demo cut on the song "Always on My Mind." Moman's producer credits during that time include work with country supergroup the Highwaymen, Nelson, Gary Stewart, Tammy Wynette, Ronnie Milsap and Petula Clark.
Though he returned to Memphis in 1985 to create another studio, it didn't succeed, and he settled in LaGrange.
Moman is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Monique and son Casey.