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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 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; he didn't like any of the songs. 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; during the same year he moved his family to Nashville. His next top ten hit ' I couldn't keep from crying ' was in the country top ten early 1953. However, Marty's next two songs 'Call me Up' and 'Pretty Words' didn't do so well. Then in 1955 Marty had two songs 'Maybellene' and 'That's all right' that kept him in the top ten during this year. However, 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 was in the top twenty pop chart too. Later in early 1957, Marty Robbins released ' A White Sport Coat; '; this song was number one on the Country charts and number two on the Pop charts.
Never allowing himself to be confined to just country music, Marty decided to broaden his musical reach 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. Marty's next album 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 & country charts; later it went gold.
Because of the success of the single ' El Paso,' it was now possible for Marty to finance another hobby he loves auto racing. Although he 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 the hard work, singing talent and this odd new fuzzy sound ' Don't Worry about me ' was a hit. Other Hits Marty had before 1969 include: ' Ruby Ann,' ' Big Iron,' and ' Devil Woman.' 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, while on the road to a performance, Marty had the first of three heart attacks. Although he was confined in a hospital, Marly talked the doctor on call into releasing him, on the promise that he would go straight to a hospital in Nashville. Marty being one not to disappoint his fans performed the show, against medical advice; as the performance continued, Marty was in more and more pain. When the show was over, 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. He decided to get the bypass. Following the triple bypass surgery, when he was able to use his arms, Marty requested a guitar. He 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; ' the song would earn him another Grammy.
When Marty's personal physician told him to slow down, He did the opposite. Marty was more determined to live life 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. Also, he continued to record new songs. Marty decided to leave Columbia in 1972; he recorded with MCA for three years; following the weak record sales with MCA, he decided to contract with Columbia again. It was during this time Marty decided to record another one of his favorite songs ' El Paso city.' This song went to number one; another hit Marty had 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 the 1982 hit ' Some memories just wont die.' In October 1982, Marty was induced into Country music hall of fame; in December of the same year, Marty gave his last interview; a few hours after this interview, Marty had his third and final heart attack. Despite a lengthy surgery, with bedside care from his doctors, Marty passed away on December 8, 1982.
Marty Robbins transcended the boundaries of Country music. He was a songwriter, businessman, actor, husband and father. He will always be remembered for the joy he brought to his fans everywhere.