Marty Robbins was one of the most renowned and successful country stars, with a career spanning nearly four decades. Fans remember him for his unmistakably unique music and a style that’s so individual – it was almost like a handprint.
But Robbins is more than just a singer! He’s actually much more amazing than you know him. Get to know more about the country legend with these exciting facts.
1. He’s a native of Glendale, Arizona.
Born Martin David Robinson on September 26, 1925, the country singer is the sixth among nine children. However, his parents divorced when he was 12. This promoted Robbins, along with his eight siblings, to move with their mother to Phoenix.
2. He has a twin sister.
Marty Robbins is actually the male half of fraternal twins, the other half being sister Mamie. She wrote a memoir in honor of her brother, called Some Memories: Growing Up with Marty Robbins – where she detailed the adventures they shared in and around Phoenix, Arizona, long before her brother sang renowned ballads about the Old West.
3. He grew up around music.
In addition to Robbins’ father, who played the harmonica, his grandfather was also one of his greatest musical influences. Robbins’ grandfather is a traveling salesman and first-rate storyteller. He recalled singing church songs to the old man so he’d tell him stories. Robbins also noted that several of the songs he has written were brought about because of the stories his grandfather told him.
4. He enlisted in the United States Navy when he was 17.
Robbins was stationed in the Pacific during World War II, where he took part in the successful crusade of recapturing the island of Bougainville from Japanese forces. It was also at this time that Robbins taught himself to play the guitar and made a continuous effort at songwriting.
5. He was a television star.
Robbins actually appeared on three national series. This includes The Marty Robbins Spotlight in the late 1970s, where he sang so many hits within its 24 episodes.
6. He was also a race car driver.
Inspired by the races near his home in Nashville, Robbins started his racing career in his late 30s with a micro-midget race car. By the 1960s, Robbins already regularly competed at the Highland Rim Speedway’s dirt track with a 1934 Ford car named “Devil Woman.” In 1966, he joined his first NASCAR Grand National stock car race.
7. He was married to his hometown sweetheart.
In 1948, Robbins married Marizona “Mari” Baldwin and was blessed with two children. Robbins and Mari were married for more than three decades until his death.
8. He developed cardiovascular disease early in life.
In 1969, Robbins suffered a massive heart attack. A year later, he became one of the first people to undergo quadruple coronary bypass surgery when it was still in its experimental stages. The operation was a success, and Robbins recovered quickly. However, he suffered another heart attack in 1982, which led to his death a few days later. He was 57 years old.
While his life may be brief, Marty Robbins songs will surely live in the hearts of many country fans.