January 7, 1949
Self-confident and striking singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman helped created the categories of alternative country and roots rock long before anyone thought of those names. She was born into the upper classes of Spartanburg, South Carolina in the late 1940s, a time when the daughters of prosperous cotton mill owners like her father were expected to attend debutante balls and marry sons of the upper crust. But when she attended an Elvis Presley concert at the age of eight, it inspired a desire to write and perform her own songs. While attending Nashville's Vanderbilt University, Chapman began performing at local songwriter circles and open-mike events, and by 1978, she was signed to Epic Records' country division. While recording her own critically-acclaimed solo albums, she also wrote songs for other artists; 1980s country-rock band Sawyer Brown topped the country charts with their version of Chapman's song "Betty's Bein' Bad." While still releasing albums on her own Tall Girl label, Chapman became an author with her memoir "Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller." Chapman began her association with film by contributing a song to the soundtrack of Blake Edwards' 1991 gender-identity fantasy "Switch." In 2010, she made her acting debut in the supporting role of hard-bitten road manager Winnie in the musical "Country Strong," starring Gwyneth Paltrow as an ex-country superstar attempting a comeback.