Country singer Keith Urban sang a tribute medley to the iconic country singer of the ‘60s, Marty Robbins, during the 2009 Artist of the Decade All-Star Concert. And no one could’ve done it better than him.
Every decade, the Academy of Country Music Award recognizes one artist whose career has significantly impacted country music for the last 10 years. And it is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious awards in the genre – if not the most. It started in 1960, and for its fifth year, the ACM is honoring George Strait.
He shared that his parents had Marty Robbins’ records in their vinyl collection, and he remembered listening to his songs growing up. As a young kid, he thought he was the coolest guy in the world – which he later realized was true. That is, Robbins wasn’t just a singer. He was also a movie actor, a TV star, a NASCAR racer, and a proud member of the US Navy.
With a guitar and a mic, Urban started singing, and the first track of his medley was “Singing the Blues.” While the song was heavily associated with Guy Mitchell, who sent it to the top of the charts, it was first recorded by Robbins. And, of course, he nailed the best part of the song – the yodeling. When he hit, “But cry-why-why-why over you,” the crowd erupted in cheers.
Then, he skillfully transitioned with a guitar solo into “El Paso,” his chart-topping, award-winning self-written song. He opened with the last part of the song’s gripping narrative – the protagonist’s death. He sang, “Something is dreadfully wrong, for I feel / A deep burning pain in my side.” And the crowd was raising their arms and swaying along with the heartbreaking lyrics.
And then, without skipping a beat, he shifted to an upbeat tune with “A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation).” This last track on his tribute medley was Robbins’ third number-one hit, which he also wrote (music and lyrics).
The performance ended with a loud applause from the audience, and deservingly so. Even Robbins would’ve been thrilled with it if he was there.
Catch Keith Urban’s tribute to Marty Robbins in the video below. Enjoy!
Keith Urban, Marty Robbins