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November 3

The Smooth Ballad of Marty Robbins, “Among My Souvenirs”

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The Smooth Ballad of Marty Robbins, “Among My Souvenirs” 1

Marty Robbins was not the first one to sing the “Among My Souvenirs.” In fact, four other different artists had released the song back in 1928. A lot of pop stars recorded their own renditions some time in their careers such as Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. To charts, Connie Francis revived the song in 1959, taking it to No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Robbins’ 1976 country version was the one who opened it with an alternating duet between him and a classical-inspired violin performance. His version also culminated a smooth, well-crafted ballad. Producer Billy Sherrill loved Robbins’ opening technique as well as how he finished product. However, Robbins was not enamored, he wanted the track to be used only for an album filler, but Sherrill talked him “Among My Souvenirs” as a single. It was because they didn’t have anything else ready to go at the time. Robbins thought it was a “stupid” record, and the way Billy kicked it off was “schmaltzy.”

The version of Mart Robbins of the song first appeared on Billboard’s Country Singles chart at no. 63 in 1976. It worked its way to No. 1 on October 30th. This record marked the last of Robbin’s last sixteen chart-toppers. After he decided to begin producing his own material, his success crumbled. Even though he was a survivor both in personal life and in his musical career. One of his hobbies was auto racing, and he competed in it well over fifty events during the course of his lifetime. He hit a wall at the Charlotte Speedway at 160 mph in October of 1974. The impact broke two ribs and his tailbone and needed 37 stitches on his face. On New Year’s Day in 1981, Robbins suffered his second heart attack, but in May of the following year he mounted a musical comeback with his first Top Ten release in four years, “Some Memories Just Won’t Die.” Unfortunately, this title provided the press with his eulogy, as Marty passed away on December 8, 1982, six days after sustaining his third heart attack.

Just two months earlier, on October 11th of the same year, Tammy Wynette had presented Robbins with a plaque at the Country Music Association awards telecast signifying his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The week of his death, the Clint Eastwood movie “Honky Tonk Man” was released, with Marty singing the title track and playing a bit part in the film. On May 7, 1983, Robbins was posthumously honored when the Music City 420 NASCAR race was re-named “The Marty Robbins 420.”


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