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AZ Music Bonus
More of Arizona’s Greatest Music Hits
25 Influential Arizona Musicians
feature in our May 2013 issue shines a spotlight on 25 local artists who bucked the norm and made their mark on music. But whittling the list down to 25 proved difficult, and in the end, we had to omit several worthy contenders. Here we doff our hats to some Arizona-connected sonic trailblazers who barely missed the cut.
Originally from Iowa, Ruess’ family moved to Glendale in 1986 to try and improve his health (he repeatedly had pneumonia as a child). In 2001, he formed indie rock band The Format, which released records on two major labels, Elektra and Atlantic, before dissolving in 2008. Ruess moved on with the band Fun, which produced hit songs in 2012 with “We Are Young” (covered on Glee) and “Some Nights.” In addition to winning the Song of the Year Grammy in 2013 for “We Are Young,” Fun also won the Best New Artist Grammy.
Many people know Colter as Waylon Jennings’ widow, but Colter had her own music career – including writing songs for Nancy Sinatra and Dottie West – before marrying Jennings in 1969. Born Miriam Johnson in Phoenix, Colter saw solo success in the ‘70s, scoring the number one country hit “I’m Not Lisa” and several other charting singles, and collaborating with Jennings and Willie Nelson on the first platinum-selling country album, Wanted! The Outlaws in 1976. Colter is one of few female artists to become a major “outlaw star” in country.
Though he relocated to California after the New Millennium, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine lived in Phoenix throughout the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, adding his name to a long list of resident heavy metal icons (including Alice Cooper, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan, Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera, and many others). As lead guitarist and vocalist for one of the most influential thrash metal bands of all time (Megadeth’s sold more than 50 million records worldwide and garnered 11 Grammy nominations), Mustaine’s mark on metal is indelible.
Born Marco Cardenas in Nogales, Mexico and raised in Phoenix, MC Magic founded hip-hop group NB Ridaz (originally Nastyboy Klick) in 1995. The group’s breakthrough hit, “Down for Yours,” featured Roger Troutman of Zapp and Parliament-Funkadelic, who also sang the chorus on Tupac Shakur’s “California Love.” As a solo act, MC Magic’s music has focused on romantic R&B tracks pumped up with dance beats and guest spots from the likes of Baby Bash, Too Short, and DJ Kane of Kumbia Kings. Magic sings and raps in both English and Spanish, and recently released a Spanish rap record titled Todos Mis Diaz. He currently hosts the morning radio program “Magic City Radio” on local station Power 98.3.
A pioneer of early country music, Marty Robbins was born in Glendale and started playing venues around the Valley in 1947. He quickly nabbed a record deal with Columbia Records and became a regular at the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, racking up several hits over the next four decades, including “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife,” “El Paso,” and “Don’t Worry.” Before his death of a heart attack in 1982, Robbins won two Grammy Awards (and received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award posthumously in 1988) and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Over the years, numerous notable artists have covered his songs, from the Grateful Dead to Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley.
Rock out to legendary Valley bluesman Carvin Jones
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