Marty Robbins

Induction Year: 1975

Birth Name: Martin David Robinson

Birth Date: 09-26-1925

Place of Birth: Glendale, Arizona

Death Date: 12-08-1982

Place of Death: Nashville, Tennessee

One of country music's most distinctive and versatile singing stylists, Marty Robbins was also the writer of enduring hits including "El Paso," "A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)," "Don't Worry" and "Devil Woman." Born Martin David Robinson, he had a childhood marked by poverty and family turmoil. While in his early twenties, he began singing and playing guitar in area clubs, changed his name to Marty Robbins and developed a confident, magnetic stage presence. In the late 1940s, he starred on KPHO radio in Phoenix, and in the early 1950s he began appearing on a KPHO television show called Western Caravan. Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens appeared on Western Caravan, heard Robbins and helped him towards a recording contract and a slot on the Opry. Robbins' debut Columbia Records single, the self-penned "I'll Go on Alone," was a chart-topper for the last two weeks of 1952.

Robbins followed "I'll Go on Alone" with the Top 5 hit "I Couldn't Keep From Crying," and scored his second #1 in 1956 with a cover of the Melvin Endsley-penned "Singing the Blues." In 1957, Robbins hit with the teen-friendly "A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)," and he followed that up with other records meant for juvenile audiences. But in 1959, he wrote "El Paso," a lengthy (4:37) Western story-song that sounded nothing like any other records on the radio. "El Paso" would hit #1 on the pop and country charts, and his recording won a Grammy for Best Country Performance. It remains Robbins' signature hit. He wrote it while driving from El Paso to Phoenix.

"It was real exciting," he told Ralph Emery. "I kept waiting for the end to come, to see what was going to happen. Finally, it ended when it wanted to. I really didn't have too much to do with that song. It just came out."

Robbins did not write the majority of his 90+ hit singles, but he did write most of his most memorable records. He won a Best Country Song Grammy for 1970's "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife" and was named Artist of the Decade for the 1960s by the Academy of Country Music. "El Paso" was named to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Robbins entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982, only a few weeks before he died of complications following cardiac surgery at age 57.

"A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)"

Marty Robbins1957 #1 country, #2 pop
Hardrock Gunter1961 
Don McLean1989 

"Begging to You"

Marty Robbins1963 #1 country, #74 pop

"Big Iron"

Marty Robbins1960 #5 country, #26 pop
Johnny Cash2003 

"Cowboy in the Continental Suit"

Marty Robbins1964 #3 country, #103 pop
Chris LeDoux1994 

"Devil Woman"

Marty Robbins1962 #1 country, #16 pop
Dickey Lee1962 

"Don't Worry"

Marty Robbins1961 #1 country, #3 pop
Skeeter Davis1965 
Jimmie Dale Gilmore2005 

"El Paso"

Marty Robbins1959 #1 country, #1 pop, #19 adult contemporary
Pat Boone1961 
Jim Ed Brown1968 
Michael Martin Murphey1993 
The Old 97's1999 

"El Paso City"

Marty Robbins1976 #1 country

"I Can't Quit I've Gone Too Far"

Marty Robbins1956 #7 country

"I Couldn't Keep From Crying"

Marty Robbins1953 #5 country

"I'll Go on Alone"

Marty Robbins1952 #1 country

"It's Your World"

Marty Robbins1961 #3 country, #51 pop

"My Woman, My Woman, My Wife"

Grammy for Best Country Song

Marty Robbins1970 #1 country, #42 pop
Dean Martin1970 

"She Was Only Seventeen (He Was One Year More)"

Marty Robbins1958 #4 country, #27 pop

"Song of the Patriot"

(written with Shirl Milete)

Johnny Cash1980 #54 country

"The Chair"

Marty Robbins1971 #7 country, #121 pop

"This Much a Man"

Marty Robbins1972 #11 country

"Tonight Carmen"

Marty Robbins1967 #1 country, #114 pop

"Twentieth Century Drifter"

Marty Robbins1974 #10 country

"You Gave Me a Mountain"

Frankie Laine1969 #24 pop, #1 adult contemporary
Marty Robbins1969 
Eddy Arnold1969 
Johnny Bush1969 #7 country
Billy Walker1970 
Elvis Presley1973 

Marty Robbins

Induction Year: 1975