Marty Robbins - A Lifetime of Music
One of most versatile singers of the 1950's, 60's and 70's was Marty Robbins. No one in the history of Country music has had a more diverse career than Marty; never content to remain just a country singer, Marty performed successfully in a variety of genres during his time in the music industry.
Martin David Robinson (Marty Robbins) was born September 26, 1925 near the city of Glendale Arizona. It was during these early years that he developed a love for the old west by listening to the stories told by his Grandfather. These stories instilled a love of the old west into young Marty that would stay with him throughout his life. During his teenage years, he worked as a cowhand on his brothers ranch. In 1943 at the age of seventeen, Marty joined the US Navy; it was during his enlistment that he learned to play the guitar, and became interested in Hawaii music. Later in 1947, following his discharge from the Navy, Marty returned to Glendale Arizona and begun to sing locally. Within three years, Marty had gone from playing clubs and a small radio station to his own radio and TV show in Phoenix. In 1948, before Marty started his professional career, he married his sweetheart Marizona Baldwin. While hosting one of his TV shows, a popular singer named "Little" Jimmy Dickens, appeared on Marty Robbins TV show " Western Caravan ". When Dickens hear Marty sing, he was so impressed he helped Marty get his first recording contract with Columbia Records in May 1951.
When Marty Robbins starting recording for Columbia records, he was given a selection of songs to choose from. Marty didn't like any of the songs he was to choose from. Marty being the independent thinker decided to write his own songs. This caused an uproar and hard feeling between him and Columbia management. To make a long story short, Marty got his way and was allowed to use his own songs. When the first two songs were released in Spring of 1952 they flopped. However, when " I'll Go On Alone " was released in 1953 it was Marty's first top ten hit. Deciding to capitalize on the success of "I'll Go Alone " Mary Robbins appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in 1953, and moved his family to Nashville during this time. His next top ten hit " I couldn't keep from crying " was in country top ten early 1953. However, Marty's next two songs(Call me Up and Pretty Words) released in 1954 didn't do so well. Then in 1955 Marty had two songs(Maybellene and That's all right " Rock and Roll" covers) that kept him in the top ten during this year. Many music critics don't consider Marty's career launched til he released " Singing the Blues " in fall 1956; this song was his first number one on the country top ten, and it was in the top twenty pop chart too. Next, in early 1957 Marty Robbins released " A White Sport Coat "; this song was a hit that was number one on the Country charts and number two on Pop charts.
Never allowing himself to be confined to just country music, Marty decided to broaden his musical reach even more with the release of " Songs of the Islands " late in 1957; Now a respected musical artist, Marty decided to turn his attention to his first love cowboy songs. In 1958 Marty started recording his beloved cowboy songs. Marty's first western hit was the song "The Hanging Tree". At this point, his childhood dreams of being a singing cowboy like Gene Autry was coming true. With the success of his first western song, Marty decided to release more western songs. Marty's next album released was called " Gunfighter Ballards and Trail Songs "; One of the songs included on this album was called "El Paso"; this song would become the defining song of his career. "El Paso" was number one on both the pop and country charts and later it went gold.
Because of the success of the single "El Paso", it was now possible for Marty Robbins to finance another hobby he loves auto racing. Although Marty didn't compete to win, Marty enjoyed racing and the attention he received from the racing fans. In July 1961, Marty was recording his next hit "Don't worry about me". An odd fuzzy sound was heard in the session recording. Instead of correcting the problem which was a blown tube, the producer in charge of this recording session liked the odd sound and left it in the finished recording. As a result of Marty Robbins hard work, singing talent and this odd new fuzzy sound " Don't Worry about me " was a hit and made it to the number one spot for a for over 9 weeks. Other Hits Marty had before 1969 include " Ruby Ann", " Big Iron " and " Devil Woman " to name a few. Although Marty's success continued though 1965, his songs stopped being in the top ten after the hit song "Ribbon of Darkness" went to number one in 1965. This was the result of his focus on television not singing. However, he would have more number one hits it the 1970's.
Late in 1969, Marty had the first of three heart attacks. This happened while on the road, in route to a show. Although Marty was confined in a hospital, Marty talked the doctor on call into releasing him if he would go straight to a hospital in Nashville. Marty being one not to disappoint his fans performed the show anyways against medical advice. As the performance continued, Marty was in more and more pain. When the show was over, and he went to the hospital. It was discovered three of his main arteries were clogged. Marty was given a choice to die in a year, or get a triple bypass. Marty decided to get the bypass. Following his triple bypass surgery, when Marty was able to use his arms, he requested a guitar. Marty wrote a song for his wife, who had helped him through the rough times . The name of the song was "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife" this song earned him another Grammy.
Marty personal physician told him to slow down, He did the opposite.
Marty was more determined to live just as hard and fast as he
could; He devoted more of his time to his fans, and he continued to
participate in NASCAR racing something his doctors were against. Also, he
continued to record new music. Marty decided to leave Columbia in 1972.
When he left Columbia, he went to MCA; after only three years with
MCA and weak record sales , he decided to contract with Columbia again. It was during this time
Marty decided to record one other of his favorite songs "El Paso city".
This song went to number one. Another hit during 1976 was " Among My Souvenirs
". After his 1978 hit "Return to Me", Marty continued to be a favorite of his fans despite his falling record sales. Marty Robbins had a second heart attack in 1981 which slowed him down even more. Marty's last top ten hit was "Some memories just wont die" it was released in 1982. During October 1982 Marty was induced into Country music hall of fame. On December 1, 1982 Marty gave his last interview. A few hours after this interview Marty had his third and final heart attack. Despite a lengthy surgery and and bedside care by his doctors, Marty Robbins died on December 8, 1982.
Marty Robbins transcended the boundaries of Country music. He was a songwriter, a businessman(he owned a few publishing companies), an actor, a husband, and a father to his two children(Ronny and Janet). He will always be remembered for the joy he brought to his fans and his love of life.
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