El Paso - Marty Robbins (Seq. Gary Rogers)(Revised)
- View SourceEl PasoWords and Music by:Marty RobbinsRecorded by:Marty Robbins (1959)"El Paso" is a country and western ballad written and originally recorded by Marty Robbins, and first released on Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs in September 1959.It was released as a single the following month, and became a major hit on both the country and pop music charts, reaching number one in both at the start of 1960. It won theGrammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording in 1961, and remains Robbins' best-known song. It is widely considered a genre classic for its gripping narrative, hauntingharmonies by vocalists Bobby Sykes and Jim Glaser (of the Glaser Brothers) and the eloquent Spanish guitar accompaniment by Grady Martin that lends the recording a distinctiveTex-Mex feel.
"El Paso" was, at some four minutes and thirty-eight seconds in duration, far longer than most contemporary singles at the time. Robbins' record company was unsure if radio stations would
play such a long song, and so released two versions of the song: the full-length version on one side, and an edited version on the other which was nearer to the three-minute mark. The full-length
version was overwhelmingly preferred.
- "Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, I fell in love with a Mexican girl..."
The narrator switches from the past tense to the present tense for the remainder of the song, describing the yearning that drives him to return to El Paso: "It's been so long since I've seen the young
maiden / My love is stronger than my fear of death". Upon entering the town, he is attacked and fatally wounded by a posse. At the end of the song, the cowboy is found by Feleena, and he dies in
Six years later, Robbins wrote a sequel to "El Paso", telling the story from Feleena's point of view. This song confirmed that the cowboy does indeed die in Feleena's arms.
Chart (1959) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot C&W Sides 1 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
"El Paso" was frequently covered by the Grateful Dead in concert. The song entered the band's repertoire in 1969, and remained there until the band's demise in 1995; in total, it was performed 389 times.
requested number." It was also recorded by The Mills Brothers.