It is quite amazing to remember legends that have graced the stage and left us with one of the most wonderful works of art — their music. Marty Robbins, for instance, was greatly known for his cowboy and western-themed songs. He was a legend of the West but more importantly, an icon in country music. In fact, his signature song, “El Paso” has become a staple for both traditional and modern-day cowboys. Moreover, “El Paso” was a well-loved hit storming chart after chart since its release.
Here’s a rare video clip of Robbins singing “El Paso” live:
Months before we lost Robbins in December 1982, he had been living quite a full life. Prior to this, he suffered his third serious heart attack, which has dilapidated his career during that time. However, not only he is a legendary country singer but also, he is a brilliant actor.
In fact, he had a growing career in acting and was showing a promising talent before his life was cut short at the age of 57. His most memorable was probably when he starred in the Clint Eastwood film Honkytonk Man in 1982. In the movie, Robbins played as Smoky while Eastwood starred as Red Stovall, a country music singer who suffers from tuberculosis. To note, aside from starring, Eastwood was the producer and director of the film.
In the movie, Red Stovall had dreams of making it big at the Grand Ole Opry in the Great Depression era. Hence, he decided to travel cross-country with his nephew Whit (played by Eastwood’s young son Kyle), to Nashville to make his dreams come true.
Red’s audition for the Opry was ruined by a bad coughing spell, something extremely common in tuberculosis patients. However, he sang enough to impress a record company who invited him for a recording session. During that session, Red is forced to step away in the middle of singing the titular song because his illness has become too much to handle. Smoky is there to step in for Red, who could sense something was wrong even earlier in the song. Smoky completed the rest of the song, allowing Robbins’ incredible talent shine.
Released on December 15, 1982, Honkytonk Man was shown just seven days after Robbins’ death, making the film his final appearance before his passing.
You better watch Marty Robbins’ performance in the film:
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