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Marty Robbins
Marty Robbins
(c) Sandy Daens

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On September 26, 1925, a legend was born in the desert near Glendale, Arizona. Martin David Robinson started life rough, as one of nine children raised in poverty. At the age of twelve, his parents divorced and his mother struggled to raise the children alone. His youth was often troubled, but there was nothing that could break the spirit of this talented youngster. It wouldn't be too long until the world would know him as Marty Robbins, one of the all-time greats in country music.

Robbins attended high school in Glendale, but dropped out of school to serve in the Navy from 1943-1945, where he learned to play guitar. Upon returning to the Glendale/Phoenix area, he worked at several different jobs, including driving a truck and hauling ice, but none held his interest for long. In the mid-40's he joined a country music band at a local bar as a guitar player, and shortly thereafter he was asked to sing. He was shy in front of his audiences in the beginning, but he loved the work and it wasn't long until he had a radio program on KTYL in Mesa. Robbins went on to perform on KPHO in Phoenix, where he held two jobs, as the star of "Chuck Wagon Time" on radio, and "Western Caravan" on television.

In 1951 Robbins signed with Columbia Records and in November he had his first recording session. The following year he signed a songwriting contract with Acuff-Rose in Nashville. His first record, "Love Me Or Leave Me Alone" was released in April of 1952, and on January 19, 1953, he became an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. Glendale's son moved to Nashville and was on his way to stardom.

In 1953 Robbins had his first of many Number One hits with "I'll Go On Alone". It was to be followed by 15 others, including "Singing The Blues", "A White Sport Coat", "El Paso", "Devil Woman", "Begging To You" and others. He could sing nearly every type of song, and recorded not only country, but pop, rock, Hawaiian, western and calypso. Marty's two major influences during his childhood had been his grandfather, who told him stories about the old west, and singing cowboy Gene Autry. Cowboy songs were always a part of a Marty Robbins concert.

Marty Robbins was more than a singer. He was also a songwriter; an actor, having appeared in several movies; a businessman who owned several publishing companies, a record label and other ventures; an author, having written a western novel titled "The Small Man"; a television star, having had three national series, "The Drifter", "The Marty Robbins Show" and "Marty Robbins Spotlight"; and he was a race car driver, whose love for the sport consumed a great deal of his spare time. Robbins started his racing career on the dirt tracks, but proved to be a good enough driver to compete on the NASCAR circuit against top drivers such as Richard Petty and Bobby Allison. One month before his death, he ran is last race in Atlanta on November 7, 1982.

A recipient of many awards, Robbins received accolades for everything ranging from music to racing. Some of his top awards include several Music City News awards, gold and platinum albums, two Grammy awards, various ASCAP and BMI awards, and more. The Academy of Country Music voted him as "Man of the Decade" for 1960-1970. He was a member of the national Songwriters Hall of Fame and was the first member of the Arizona Songwriters Hall of Fame. In October, 1982, Marty was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Marty's interaction with his fans is legendary. He had a special bond with them and often called them his "friends" instead of "fans". He took an interest in their lives and it wouldn't be unusual for a fan to receive a phone call or flowers from him on a special occasion. His fans became known as "Marty's Army" and at one time, it was reported that his original fan club had more members than any other performer's fan club.

Robbins had a history of heart trouble, starting with a massive heart attack in 1969. In 1970 he became one of the first persons to undergo a then-experimental triple bypass operation, which added several years to his life. In 1981 he suffered a minor attack and on December 2, 1982, after returning home from his last concert of the year, he had a massive attack and immediately underwent quadruple bypass surgery. For six days he struggled to live, but the damage had been too great and after his kidneys and liver had failed, Marty passed away on December 8.

Marty has not been forgotten by his many fans and friends. Even after his death, he has remained one of the few famous entertainers of which nobody has an unkind word to say. The Marty Robbins legend started in the Arizona desert... it's a legend that will live forever in the worldwide history of country music.

From a Marty Robbins Fan-Dedicated Website.

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