Music Journalist Chet Flippo Dies at 69

Former Rolling Stone editor was editorial director of CMT

Chet Flippo

Chet Flippo, renowned music journalist who worked for outlets including Rolling Stone, Billboard and CMT, died June 19 in Nashville following a lengthy illness. He was 69.

He was serving as editorial director of CMT and CMT.com up until his death.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism at the U. of Texas in Austin. After working as Rolling Stone’s contributing editor while in graduate school, he became the magazine’s New York Bureau chief, opening its east coast office in 1974. In 1977, he became the magazine’s senior editor after the company’s move from San Francisco.

In addition to covering rock bands, he initiated Rolling Stone’s country music coverage, profiling such artists as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton and expanding their fanbase to a younger audience.

Flippo was also the author of seven books, including “On the Road With the Rolling Stones: 20 Years of Lipstick, Handcuffs and Chemicals”; “Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams”; and “Yesterday: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney.”

From 1991 to 1994 Flippo was a lecturer in journalism at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, before moving to Nashville to work for Billboard magazine as bureau chief. In 1998, he received the Country Music Association’s CMA Media Achievement Award. In 2006, the International Country Music Conference (ICMC) honored him with the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism.

Joining CMT in 2001, Flippo interviewed artists, oversaw the music content of CMT programming and wrote a regular column for CMT.com called “Nashville Skyline” in which he celebrated artists who would benefit from his attention.

His long marriage to Martha Hume Flippo ended with her death in December 2012.