Chet Flippo (1943-2013)

Chet Flippo (1943-2013)

Chet Flippo from CMTBorn in Fort Worth, Texas, Chet Flippo served in Vietnam with the United States Army. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the University of Texas, he was appointed chief to Rolling Stone’s Austin bureau in 1974. He moved to New York City in 1977 to assume responsibilities as the magazine’s New York bureau chief.

Though he interviewed many of rock music’s leading lights at the time, including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and the Who, as well as Joseph Heller, Tom Wolfe and other literati, Flippo was responsible for expanding the publication’s coverage of Country Music with profiles of Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Tanya Tucker.

In 1980, he left Rolling Stone to write Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams. He also authored six other books, including Graceland: The Living Legacy of Elvis Presley and Yesterday: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney. Following stints as a lecturer in journalism at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Nashville Bureau Chief for Billboard and Country Music Editor for, Flippo worked as Editorial Director for CMT and from 2001 until his death.

His honors include the CMA Media Achievement Award (1998) and the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism (2006). He died on the morning of June 19 in Nashville, Tenn.


    “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” pertains to more than the musicians. There’s just no replacement on the horizon for Chet as reporter and interpreter of the scene. For an immediate example, he would have put Steve Moore’s resignation into context for the past and future of the CMA. Who else is going to do that? Who else is going to bring a 40 year perspective to the occasion as the :”hat acts” turn into baseball caps and even old pros like Joe Diffie incorporate Jawga Boys rap into a comeback tune? I’m going to miss him and you should, too.