His Dream Was To Own A Car

When growing up in LaGrange during the Great Depression Lincoln Wayne “Chips” Morman’s biggest dream as a youth was to own a car. That dream came true and then some in Chips later life, Jackie Kennedy wrote in an article for the January issue of Georgia Magazine.

Morman is now a retired record producer who has owned many cars during his 50 year career in the music industry that allowed him to meet many great singers such as Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash.

Chips is the songwriter who co-wrote Franklin’s classic “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and Waylon Jennings “Luckenback, Texas”; the producer who recorded “Suspicious Minds” by Presley and “Always on My Mind” by Nelson.

The legendary producer known for creating hit records and playing guitar with the greats is happiest at home on his 100 acre farm in Troup County, only ten miles from the mill village house where he was born 72 years ago.

While his father served in the Navy during World War II he lived in his grandmother’s home with his mother, six aunts and all of their children. “Sometimes there were up to 28 people living in that two story house,” he told Ms. Kennedy.

Morman got his first guitar when he was three and would play it when his mother sang and played the piano. She taught him all different types of music at an early age. “Daddy hated it and said it was a waste of time. I was 40 years old before he told me he was wrong,” Chips said.

He left home when he was 14 and hitch hiked to Texas. His dream was to own his own car and be a cowboy. After a few weeks he gave up the idea and thumbed his way to Memphis to live with his Aunt Idel and help his cousin paint service stations.

Morman was 17 and playing a borrowed guitar at a Memphis drug store when Sun Records artist Warren Smith heard him and offered him a job. “A couple of nights later I played with him, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins,” he remembers.

For a few years he lived in California where he toured with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette before moving back to Memphis in the late 1950’s and becoming a partner in a record firm. Eventually he owned his own studio producing pop, soul and country music. Musicians who recorded with him were Neil Diamond, Dionne Warwick and the Box Tops.

Later Morman moved to Nashville where he focused on country music co-writing the B. J. Thomas hit, “Hey Won’t You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” which earned him a Grammy in 1975. He also produced “The Highwayman” by Nelson, Jennings, Cash and Kristofferson. In the mid 1980’s he returned to Memphis and recorded “Class of ‘55” featuring Cash, Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.

In the late 1990’s Morman retired to his family farm with his wife Jane where they tend to 18 horses, a donkey, two dogs and a cat. His daughter lives nearby and his son lives in Nashville.

Presently, the music Chips admires most is that of birds chirping and horses whinnying outside his farm house. “This is what I enjoy, looking into the pasture where the horses graze and counting deer in the evenings,” he says.

Sitting in the yard of the boy whose dream was to own a car is a 1955 Cadillac that was once owned by Roy Orbison. It was a gift to Morman on his 40th birthday, the same year his dad admitted he had been wrong about the guitar, Ms. Kennedy wrote.