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    Robbins, Marty (26th September 1925  8th December 1982)

    Marty David Robinson grew up in poverty in the American southwest, Glendale, Arizona, specifically, one of ten children.  His grandfather, a former Texas ranger and medicine-show man, regaled him with stories of the Old West, which would capture his imagination and later influence his music.  As a kid, Marty idolized Gene Autry and would walk a round trip of sixteen miles to go and see his movies.  He wanted to be a singing cowboy, and his dreamy aspirations helped him through difficult times.  His father drank and his parents divorced in 1937.  Working odd jobs and even committing petty crimes wasn’t exactly measuring up to Autry’s Cowboy Code, but as it turned out, the United States Navy was a perfect fit for such a young man, and he joined up at the age of 17.  It was here he learned to play the guitar and start writing songs.  A stint in Hawaii led him to love the music of what would become America's 50th state.  Marty was lucky and good:  After his stint in the military, he embarked on what would become one of the most prolific careers in country music.  It started in Phoenix, where he hosted his own radio show.  With the advent of television, he was offered his own TV show, which he was reluctant to do, but management told him if he didn't do the TV show, he wouldn't be able to keep his radio show.  Marty consented and it turned out to be the best thing for his career.  A longtime Opry standby named Little Jimmy Dickens appeared on Marty's show and was so enamoured of the young fellow, he offered him a recording contract with Columbia Records.  This paved the path to the Grand Ole Opry, although it was an association not without conflict.  In 1966, Marty entertained another one of his passions, NASCAR auto racing.  The Grand Ole Opry accommodated his schedule, which conveniently put him in the coveted 11:30 p.m. (and last) slot of the evening.  Marty would frequently go past the midnight cut-off time in order to give the fans their money's worth, even going so far as to physically set back the clock on the Opry stage.  When Marty wanted to bring a trumpet player on stage (a necessary element of his signature song "El Paso") the Opry expressly forbid it.  Marty dug in his heels and refused to budge, thereby making history for the invitation of brass onto the Opry stage. "El Paso" was the song that Marty eventually became inextricably identified with, and with good reason.  It was the first country song to win a Grammy, the first of three Marty would accumulate.  Those unfamiliar with the rest of Marty's output may be surprised to know that he was also the first performer to record "Singing The Blues" although it is associated with Guy Mitchell, who released his cover shortly after Marty's, a pattern that reared its ugly head again with "Knee Deep in the Blues".  By now you know that Marty was pretty competitive, and he trumped Mitchell by collaborating with Ray Conniff on "A White Sports Coat (And A Pink Carnation)" which gave him his first crossover hit and established him as a legitimate star.  Robbins is also credited inadvertently with creating the "fuzztone" guitar effect when a tube blew during bandmate Grady Martin's solo in the middle of recording "Don't Worry".  Producer Don Law said leave it in.  It worked.  "Don't Worry" spent ten weeks at #1.  Earlier successes, such as Marty's covers of "That's All Right" and "Maybelline" had established him as a capable rockabilly performer, and when you add in the fact that he released an album of Hawaiian music, Marty Robbins stands out as one of the most versatile musicians in the history of country music.  A history of heart problems eventually cut his life and career short in 1982 when he had his third heart attack:  He was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame the same year.  In 1969, Marty had made history once again, but not in a way he would have preferred:  Doctors found three blocked arteries in his heart, and he became the first person ever to receive a triple bypass.  Marty Robbins was one of the most beloved country and western entertainers of his day, mainly because he loved the fans as much as they loved him.  He was known to stay after a concert and sign hundreds of autographs, this from a guy who was initially shy about doing his own TV show.   


    Marty Robbins recordings

    Twentieth Century Drifter (Marty Robbins)



    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marty_Robbins
    2. http://www.martyrobbins.net/bio.htm
    3. http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/robbins_marty/bio.jhtml











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