There’s a reason Marty Robbins has been revered by musicians ranging from Elvis Presley to Pete Townshend. Without exaggeration, the man was one of the most amazing human beings of the 20th century. He was a performer who absolutely plastered the charts with hits for two decades, at one point holding the top three slots in the Billboard Hot 100; he was directly responsible for at least two separate music crazes, bringing the Hawaiian sounds he’d heard in the Navy to American pop in the late ‘50s and later spurring a craze in country for gunfighter ballads; he established a pretty impressive songwriting legacy, including evergreens like “A White Sport Coat”, “You Gave Me a Mountain”, “El Paso City”, and “Devil Woman”; he won the first Grammy ever awarded for a country-and-western record; he hosted his own variety show, starred in a TV western, spent decades warming up the crowd for Ernest Tubb at the Grand Ole Opry, acted in a half-dozen or so movies, and wrote a novel; and when he wasn’t doing all that, he kept himself busy as a part-time NASCAR driver (though admittedly not a very good one). He’s sometimes even said to have been the first person to undergo a successful triple coronary bypass. And he did all this while winning the permanent affection of colleagues and generally behaving like a complete mensch toward a devoted “army” of fans.
But despite such an astonishing record of innovation and success, I would not have guessed that Marty Robbins was the first musician to release a record containing fuzztone guitar.