Her success in the 1970s was linked to the popularity of “outlaw” country artists— Nashville rejects including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
Musician. Marshall Chapman was born in Spartanburg on January 7, 1949, to James Alfred Chapman and Martha Cloud. Her great-grandfather, also named James Alfred Chapman, founded Inman Mills near Spartanburg in 1902. Chapman’s first five years were spent in Enoree. A mill merger in 1954 brought the family to Spartanburg, where Marshall spent the rest of her childhood. She moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University and has lived there most of her adult life. In Nashville, Chapman began her professional career, which by the early twenty-first century would consist of more than 250 original songs and eight full-length record albums. Classified by many as a country-music artist, Chapman and her style nonetheless have been difficult to categorize. Her success in the 1970s was linked to the popularity of “outlaw” country artists– Nashville rejects including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. Her songs have been recorded by an eclectic group of performers, including Sawyer Brown, Jimmy Buffett, Joe Cocker, Jessi Colter, Dion, Crystal Gayle, Tompall Glaser, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Ronnie Milsap, Olivia Newton-John, the Earl Scruggs Revue, Irma Thomas, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, and Wynnona, among many others. Her best-known song, “Betty’s Bein’ Bad,” has been certified by Broadcast Music Incorporated as having been performed more than one million times. In 2003 Chapman published Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, an autobiographical account woven around twelve of her songs and including reminiscences of her early days in South Carolina both in and around Spartanburg and at Pawleys Island.
Chapman, Marshall. Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller. New York: St. Martin’s, 2003.