Of all the singers not named Elvis in the late 1950’s, it’s hard to find one who was hotter than Marty Robbins. Not only was Marty one of country music’s top acts, but he was also enjoying success on the pop side. This success, in part, was due to Marty’s work with Mitch Miller, with whom Marty made several recordings with in New York City, as well as Hollywood.
Among those recordings was today’s Classic 45. But unlike “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)” or “The Story Of My Life”, “Ain’t I The Lucky One” failed to garner much action on the pop side. Unfortunately for Marty, it turned out to not be one of his bigger country hits, either.
Marty recorded the song in New York City, in February, 1958. As noted, Mitch Miller produced, while the backing vocals and arrangement were handled by Ray Conniff. That same session also yielded two other Robbins hits; “Just Married” and “Stairway Of Love”. Melvin Endsley wrote “Ain’t I The Lucky One”. Endsley had written Marty’s 1956 classic “Singing The Blues”. His writing credits also included Jill Corey’s only pop hit, “Love Me To Pieces”, Marty’s “Knee Deep In The Blues” and the Stonewall Jackson hit “Why I’m Walkin’.
So it seems like everything was in place for another big hit. Columbia’s top producer and top arranger; a singer who was scoring multi-format hits; a bouncy song with a similar feel to it’s predecessors. However, that was not to be the case. “Ain’t I The Lucky One” would fail to enter either the Billboard or Cashbox pop charts, while on the country side, it took Marty Robbins only to 23 on Billboard in December, 1958, and 22 on Cashbox in January, 1959.
So, what kept it from achieving more success? Well, here’s my theory. First, the song itself. It’s a good song, top twenty worthy, arguably, but at the same time, not quite to the same level of song crafting as some of it’s predecessors. Also, the record’s sound is very similar to Marty’s releases since “A White Sport Coat” in late 1957. And, the overall sound of country music was starting to shift back towards a more traditional sound, as witnessed by some of the big hits of the time. Ray Price, Webb Pierce, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, and Charlie Walker all had big hits, at the time. Perhaps, fans were tiring of the country-pop styling and desired something a little different.
It should be noted that it was at this time that Marty did make a directional shift. After his success with traditional country and country-pop sounds, his next release introduced us to Marty Robbins’ western sound. His next release, “The Hanging Tree” would return him to the top twenty, and then “El Paso” would return him to the top of the country and pop charts.
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, and focuses on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.