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Country singer Marty Robbins is known for hits such as "El Paso," "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife" and "Among My Souvenirs."
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Born in Glendale, Arizona, in 1925, Marty Robbins was an iconic country and Western singer. He taught himself how to play guitar while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war's end, Robbins started performing in clubs in and near Phoenix, Arizona. He had his local radio and television programs by the end of 1940s. In 1951, Robbins signed with Columbia Records. He had his first number-one country song in 1956 with "Singing the Blues." In 1959,
"I'm not a real good musician, but I can write [a song] pretty well. I experiment once in a while to see what I can do. I find out the best I can do is stay with ballads."
Robbins released one of his signature songs, "El Paso," for which he won a Grammy Award. Later hits include "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife" and "Among My Souvenirs." Robbins died in 1982.
Country music legend Marty Robbins was born Martin David Robinson on September 26, 1925, in Glendale, Arizona. One of nine children, he grew up around music. His father was an amateur harmonica player. His grandfather, a traveling salesman and first-rate storyteller of old Western tales, was another important influence on Robbins. "His name was 'Texas' Bob Heckle,'" Robbins later recalled. "He had two little books of poetry he would sell. I used to sing him church songs and he would tell me stories. A lot of the songs I've written were brought about because of stories he told me. Like 'Big Iron' I wrote because he was a Texas Ranger. At least he told me he was."
As a boy, Robbins was also inspired by Western movies. He was especially taken with Gene Autry, the original "Singing Cowboy." Robbins would work out in the cotton fields before school in order to save up money to see each new Autry film. He remembered sitting in the front row of those pictures, "close enough so I could have gotten sand in the eyes from the horses and powder burns from the guns. I wanted to be the cowboy singer, simply because Autry was my favorite singer. No one else inspired me."
Robbins's parents divorced when he was 12 years old. He and his eight siblings moved with their mother to Phoenix. After dropping out of high school, Robbins and one of his brothers spent some time herding goats and breaking wild horses in the Bradshaw Mountains outside of Phoenix. Robbins enlisted in the United States Navy in 1943. During World War II, he served in the Pacific. His wartime travels marked the first time went beyond the borders of Arizona. While in the Navy, Robbins participated in the successful campaign to recapture the island of Bougainville from Japanese forces.
It was also during his time as a soldier that Robbins made his first sustained efforts at songwriting, teaching himself to play the guitar during his free time. When he returned to home to Phoenix in 1946, he had set his heart on a career in show business.
Robbins got his start singing with local bands in bars and nightclubs around the Phoenix area, and in particular at a local club named Fred Kares. To support himself, he worked construction jobs. One day, while driving a brick truck, he heard a country singer featured on the local radio station KPHO. Robbins was convinced that he could do better.
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