Martin David Robbins was born in Glendale, Arizona on September 26, 1925. When WWII broke out, Marty joined the Navy. While serving, he taught himself to play the guitar. When the war was over, Marty returned home and embarked upon a singing and performing career around Phoenix in nightclubs, on the radio, and on television.
During his early club-playing and performing days, “…he heard a country singer featured on the local radio station KPHO. [Marty] was convinced that he could do better. He drove right down to the station and earned a place on the show.”
By the end of the 1940s, Marty had his own radio program, “Chuck Wagon Time”, and a television show, “Western Caravan”. By the mid-1950s, he was invited to the Grand Ole Opry radio show and was a regular performer for many years. He signed with Columbia Records in 1951 with his first Number 1 song coming in 1956: “Singing the Blues”. “El Paso” released in 1959, and it garnered him his first Grammy Award. With the 1960s came, he pursued racing with such a passion that he progressed to NASCAR racing. It was in 1969 that he suffered his first heart attack. He recovered quickly and wrote, “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife”, which earned him his second Grammy. His second heart attack occurred in 1981.
Marty was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982. His last song was a single that same year—“Some Memories Just Won’t Die”—a bittersweet irony. Over the span of his career, he recorded over 500 songs and 60 albums.
When he was growing up, Marty wanted to be a cowboy singer like Gene Autry, and he credits his grandfather, “Texas Bob Heckle”, a traveling medicine show salesman and story-teller, as the main inspiration for many of the songs he wrote later. In an interview, Marty said, “…I’ve done what I wanted to do… 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.”
He was (still is) so influential to my writing that my upcoming early-2016 release with Prairie Rose Publications, “The Comanchero’s Bride”, was inspired by his song, “Meet Me Tonight in Laredo”. My story was originally published years ago as a novella that I rewrote and expanded to novel length. I think of this book as my little way of paying tribute to Marty and how much his gunfighter ballads meant to me. I sprinkled hints to many of his gunfighter songs throughout the story.
Since the release day for “The Comanchero’s Bride” hasn’t been finalized, I'll hold off sharing the cover, blurb, and excerpt until the official 'unveiling', but I will share this video for your Marty Robbins listening pleasure.
Until next time,
Writing the West one romance at a time