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El Paso

“El Paso” was written by Marty Robbins in 1959 and is considered his best known song as well as a genre classic.  In the western states of America, people claim this song captures “the spirit of the West”.

The song reached number 1 in both the country music charts and pop music charts in 1960.

“El Paso” was significantly longer than most songs of the time reaching four minutes and thirty-eight seconds.  Robbins was unsure if radio stations would play such a long song and so provided a recording that was nearer to the three minute mark.  However, the original, longer version was greatly preferred by the public.

“El Paso” became the official fight song of the University of Texas at El Paso in 1980.

“El Paso” was covered by Jason and the Scorchers and the Grateful Dead.  Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead reported the song was their “most requested number” and the group performed it approximately 386 times.

The Grateful Dead’s version can be viewed at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz4PfIIfI2c

Robbins wrote two additional songs about “El Paso”.  The first, which appeared in 1966, was titled “Feleena”.   “Feleena”, titled for the name of the seductive woman in “El Paso”, tells of the prequel to “El Paso” from a different perspective.  “Feleena” can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOPD-p8tM4M

“El Paso City”, written by Robbins in 1976, tells the story of “El Paso” from the perspective of a man flying over the city of El Paso.  This song includes melodies and themes from the previous two songs.  Interestingly, Robbins wrote this song while flying over El Paso himself.  “El Paso City” was well received by the public and reached number 1 in the country music charts.  “El Paso City can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz7vliYMgKo

Lauren Morrow, MT-BC

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