El Paso

Album: Big Time Country (1959)
Charted: 19 1
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  • Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
    I fell in love with a Mexican girl
    Nighttime would find me in Rosa's cantina
    Music would play and Felina would whirl

    Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina
    Wicked and evil while casting a spell
    My love was deep for this Mexican maiden
    I was in love, but in vain I could tell

    One night a wild young cowboy came in
    Wild as the West Texas wind
    Dashing and daring, a drink he was sharing
    With wicked Felina, the girl that I loved

    So in anger I challenged his right for the love of this maiden
    Down went his hand for the gun that he wore
    My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat
    The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor

    Just for a moment I stood there In silence
    Shocked by the foul evil deed I had done
    Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there
    I had but one chance and that was to run

    Out through the back door of Rosa's I ran
    Out where the horses were tied
    I caught a good one, it looked like it could run
    Up on its back and away I did ride
    Just as fast as I could from the West Texas town of El Paso
    Out to the badlands of New Mexico

    Back in El Paso my life would be worthless
    Everything's gone, in life nothing is left
    It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden
    My love is stronger than my fear of death

    I saddled up and away I did go
    Riding alone in the dark
    Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me
    Tonight nothing's worse than this pain in my heart
    And at last here I am on the hill overlooking El Paso
    I can see Rosa's Cantina below
    My love is strong and it pushes me onward
    Down off the hill to Felina I go

    Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys
    Off to my left ride a dozen or more
    Shouting and shooting, I can't let them catch me
    I have to make it to Rosa's back door

    Something is dreadfully wrong, for I feel
    A deep burning pain in my side
    Though I am trying to stay in the saddle
    I'm getting weary, unable to ride

    But my love for Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen
    Though I am weary, I can't stop to rest
    I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle
    I feel the bullet go deep in my chest

    From out of nowhere Felina has found me
    Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side
    Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for
    One little kiss, then Felina good-bye Writer/s: Marty Robbins
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 27

  • Ron “papaw” Meadors from Corbin, Ky 40701I started high school in 1960 when this song was released & it quickly became a favorite. It has remained so for 61 years now. Don’t see it leaving my personal Hit Parade. Great lyrics.
  • Jason from ArizonaI don't know Nate, that's a pretty bleak take on it. I thought my interpretation was tragic: At the beginning of the song the singer is sure Felina doesn't love him ("I was in love but in vain I could tell..."). But at the end of the song he realizes Felina loved him all along. He never needed to kill the young cowboy.

    I have to say though, those last few lines of the song are great lyrics and now I will always wonder if you're right Nate
  • Nate from UsaIt’s always seemed painfully obvious to me that the last verse is a hallucination as he lay dying. He never made it to the cantina, Felina didn’t even love him.
  • Bradley from Bemidji, Minnesota UsaJennifer, the version on the Gunfighter Ballads stereo LP is the version that has does not have the "Just for a moment I stood there in silence, struck by the foul, evil deed I had done, Many thoughts ran through my mind as I stood there; I had but one chance and that was to run" verse. The version with the verse in it is on the mono LP and commercial 45rpm single. Promo singles have a very short edit which was poorly done on the A side, the B side with the full length mono version and radio programmers used the full length side. The mono full length version and the stereo LP version are both included on the Bear Family Under Western Skies CD and the Sony/Legacy CD reissue of the album.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaFred, the original version is on the Gunfighters Ballads LP. Caleb-surely u. you jest will never believe it. my late dad loved this song and always reminds me of him. the song i wish i could find out about(and if ou have never heard it.....) it's called The Chair.
  • Tony from Calif.I agree with Mark in Lancaster OH, it was a fair fight. My dad used to play the Gunfighter Ballads album when we were growing up .When I asked my dad about this he pointed out that the "crime" committed was horse thievery. He runs out back where the horses are tied. "I caught a good one, it looked like it could run". It was his fear of what he had done in anger that caused him to steal a horse! Marty Robbins was a master story teller. They're Hanging Me Tonight, Masters Call, Utah Carol among my favorites.
  • Chris from Bronx, NyCovered by Grateful Dead!
  • Coy from Palestine, TxThe great Nashville session guitarist Grady Martin played the lead guitar on this record. Martin was asked by Robbins to "come up with some Mexican sounding riff". Martin doodled on the guitar a bit and came up with the terrific riff.
  • Fred from Burbank, CaWhat about the "lost" verse ..."just for a moment I stood there in silence, struck by the foul, evil deed I had done..." It's never included in the version played, or in any compilation albums I've heard.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxI like Ray's story. 'MacArthur Park' was another song that provided time for a bathroom break, but I'm sure more than a few DJs would have choked before playing it.
  • Fred from Laurel, MdThis is one of those songs that, once I recall it, I just can't get it out of my head. And of all the songs like that, this one is among the half that I'm GLAD I can't get out of my head! The story line reminds me of a Hoyt Axton song I also love -- "Water for My Horses." In that one, the protagonist is forever on the lam. * * * * Long-playing songs on the radio? Don't forget "In a Gada Davida" by Iron Butterfly. And of course, "Alice's Restaurant (Entire Massacree)" by Arlo Guthrie. Late 60's saw a lot of lengthy tunes emerge, along with the alternative stations to play them, 'cause the top-40's sure wouldn't. That is, unless they could be shortened, like Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," which had 4 long verses, and on the radio they would cut in half by fading it out as the 3rd verse was beginning. But "El Paso" came out when the TV Western shows of the late 50's and early 60's were at their peak, and that undoubtedly helped its popularity somewhat.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1964 The Animals released "The House of the Rising Sun"; it became the 2nd song of more than four minutes in length to reach #1. Interestingly enough both 'El Paso' and 'House' are four minutes and thirty seconds long!!!
  • Caleb from Los Angeles, CaThis song is so long because it was written by the same demon who wrote and delivered the lyrics for The Book of Revelation to John the Revelator. The story goes that Marty Robbins was short on cash, having spent $200,000 on hitmen handguns and lawyers throughout the previous year. One night while sleeping under a bridge, eating and drinking with hobo ruffians, Marty summoned the Demon Azaziel. He drew the correct sigals on the ground and sacrificed a fellow hobo to the god Ba'al. Azaziel came through for ol' Marty and gave him this long hit song, and good as his word, Marty burned down a church in every town he played. Apparently Marty and the Devil had a falling out when the Devil demanded producer credits for work done prior to El Paso. Word on the street is Marty killed the devil in a drunken fit of jealousy much like the protagonist of the song El Paso. No charges have ever been filed. You fill in the dots.
  • Dave from Cullman, AlI'm surprised that no one has mentioned this, but Marty Robbins also drove NASCAR races. In 1972 my wife and I were stationed in Japan, but we came back for a month's leave, part of which we spent at her parents' place in Jacksonville. We took a day off and went to Cape Canaveral and Daytona, where we took a tour of the track. At one point I asked the guide who had left a particularly long skid mark ending at the wall--Marty Robbins. And "El Paso" was a truly great song--I loved it when it was a hit, and I still love it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyEl Paso entered Billboard's Top 100 chart on 11-09-1959 and reached No. 1 on 01-04-1960 {2 weeks at the top}; it stayed in the Top 100 for 22 weeks
  • Phil from Tucson, AzMarty Robbins remains my favorite singer of all time till this day!
  • Brad from Barry, TxIn 1976 Robbins released another reworking, "El Paso City", in which the narrator is on an airplane over El Paso and remembers a song he had heard "long ago", proceeding to summarize the original "El Paso" story. "I don't recall who sang the song", he sings, but he feels a supernatural connection to the story: "could it be that I could be the cowboy in this mystery", he asks, suggesting a past life. This song was a country number one. The arrangement includes riffs and themes from the previous two El Paso songs. Robbins wrote it while himself flying over El Paso.
  • Joel from Wheeling, WvClassic song about love, death, and the old west
  • Diane from St.paul, MnMy dad,my husband and I were watching a Garth Brooks concert. My Dad said his favorite song of all times was El Paso but he could not remember the name of the singer. After we left his house and came home, I did a google search and found this web site. I called my Dad and he said "yes, Marty Robins he was and still is the best". I now remember the Grateful Dead doing this exact song. My Dad is 80 years young and certainly has the best taste in music.
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandMan, the best country song ever. Marty Robbins is a great storyteller in song. His vocal is commanding, and it's an everlasting popular western ballad.
  • Patrick from Bremen, GaI'm not much of a fan of Country music, but this is one of those rare songs that I do enjoy listening to. I first heard the Grateful Dead version 10 years or so ago, and discovered this one a few years later. I like this version a lot better. I remember hearing it on one of the local country stations, and the DJ commented that Brooks and Dunn might make a good cover for it. It doesn't need covering. Leave it alone.
  • Jordan from El Paso, TxRosa's has been in my family for over 60 years,it was established after World War II by my great grand-father Roberto Zubia
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhI personally always thought that the guy got a raw deal. After all, it was a fair fight: "Down went his hand to the gun that he wore," and Marty woulda been dead himself if he hadn't answered the challenge in less than a heartbeat.

    It is a great song, and I think I have the whole thing memorized. It was unusual in several respects: no chorus, no repeats.
  • Harry from Tokyo, JapanThere is a song called "Felina" telling the same story from Felina's point of view. You can find out what happend to Felina after the young cowboy died in her arms.
  • Jim from Denver, CoI first heard this song almost fifty years ago on my parents record player. It is one of those story songs that I have never forgotten.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlLong live Marty ! Greatest Western singer of all time
  • Ray from Laughlin, NvAsk any disc jockey from that era, this was the only record we could play that could give us a decent bathroom break...because of the length. When you heard, "The white smoke from the rifle," you better be running back down the hall. Not until the long versions of Light My Fire and American Pie did we have such a break.
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