Marty Robbins (= Martin David Robinson ~ September 26, 1925 – December 8, 1982) was an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.
One of the most popular and successful American country and western singers of his era, Robbins' songs were often eclectic, touching notably on an array of world music. For most of his nearly four decade career, Robbins was rarely far from the country music charts, and several of his songs also became pop hits.
Robbins was born in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona. He was reared in a difficult family situation. His father took odd jobs to support the family of ten children. His father's drinking led to divorce in 1937. Among his warmer memories of his childhood, Robbins recalled having listened to stories of the American West told by his maternal grandfather, Texas Bob Heckle. Robbins left the troubled home at the age of seventeen to serve in the United States Navy as an LCT coxswain during World War II. He was stationed in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. To pass the time during the war, he learned to play the guitar, started writing songs, and came to love Hawaiian music.
After his discharge from the military in 1945, he began to play at local venues in Phoenix, then moved on to host his own radio station show on KTYL. He thereafter had his own television (TV) show on KPHO in Phoenix. After Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on Robbins' TV show, Dickens got Robbins a record deal with Columbia Records. Robbins became an immensely popular singing star at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. He was especially known for his kindness toward his many fans.
In 1948, Robbins married the former Marizona Baldwin (September 11, 1930 - July 10, 2001) to whom he dedicated his song "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife'". They had two children, a son Ronny (born 1949) and daughter Janet (born 1959), who also followed a singing career in Los Angeles.
Robbins later portrayed a musician in the 1982 Clint Eastwood film Honkytonk Man. Robbins died a few weeks before the film's release in December 1982 of complications following cardiac surgery. At the times of their deaths, Marty and Marizona lived in Brentwood in Williamson County, outside Nashville. They are interred in Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville. The city of El Paso, Texas later honored Robbins by naming a park and a recreational center after him.
His musical accomplishments include the first Grammy Award ever awarded for a country song, for his 1959 hit and signature song "El Paso", taken from his album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. "El Paso" was the first song to hit #1 on the pop chart in the 1960s. It was followed up, successfully, by "Don't Worry", which reached #3 on the pop chart in 1961, becoming his third, and last, Top 10 hit. "El Paso" was followed by two sequels: "Faleena" and "El Paso City", both of which continued the story featured in the original song.
He won the Grammy Award for the Best Country & Western Recording 1961, for his follow-up album More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, and was awarded the Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1970, for "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife." Robbins was named "Artist of the Decade" (1960-69) by the Academy of Country Music, was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982, and was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998 for his song "El Paso".
Robbins was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. For his contribution to the recording industry, Robbins has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6666 Hollywood Blvd.
When Marty Robbins was recording his 1961 hit "Don't Worry", session guitarist Grady Martin accidentally created a fuzz effect during the session. This came about because of a faulty channel in the console where Martin's guitar was plugged in. The effect was left in the recording and this is rumored to be the birth of the fuzz guitar. The song made position 1 on the country charts and position 3 on the pop charts .