RICHARD EDWARD "EDDY" ARNOLD (May 15, 1918 – May 8, 2008) was an
American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a
* 1 Early years
* 2 Second career: The
Arnold was born on May 15, 1918, on a farm near Henderson, Tennessee . His father, a sharecropper, played the fiddle , while his mother played guitar . Arnold's father died when he was just 11, forcing him to leave school and begin helping on the family farm. This led to him later gaining his nickname—the TENNESSEE PLOWBOY. One of his brothers, PFC John Hendrix Arnold, fought in World War II and died in the Normandy landings . Arnold attended Pinson High School in Pinson, Tennessee , where he played guitar for school functions and events. He quit before graduation to help with the farm work, but continued performing, often arriving on a mule with his guitar hung on his back. Arnold also worked part-time as an assistant at a mortuary . Downtown Henderson, Tennessee, the city near which Arnold was born
In 1934, at age 16, Arnold debuted musically on WTJS-AM in Jackson, Tennessee , and obtained a job there during 1937. He performed at local nightclubs and was a permanent performer for the station. During 1938, he was hired by WMPS-AM in Memphis, Tennessee , where he was one of its most popular performers. He soon quit for KWK-AM in St. Louis, Missouri , followed by a brief stint at WHAS-AM in Louisville, Kentucky .
He performed for
WSM (AM) on the
Grand Ole Opry
In 1946, Arnold scored his first major success with "That's How Much I Love You". In 1948, he had five successful songs on the charts simultaneously. That year, he had nine songs in the top 10; five of these were number one and scored there for 40 of the year's 52 weeks. With Parker's management, Arnold continued to dominate, with 13 of the 20 best-scoring country music songs of 1947–1948. He became the host of Mutual Radio 's Purina-sponsored segment of the Opry and of Mutual's Checkerboard Jamboree, a midday program shared with Ernest Tubb that was broadcast from a Nashville theater. Recorded radio programs increased Arnold's popularity, as did the CBS Radio series Hometown Reunion with the Duke of Paducah . Arnold quit the Opry during 1948, and his Hometown Reunion briefly broadcast in competition with the Opry on Saturday nights. In 1949 and 1950, he performed in the Columbia movies Feudin’ Rhythm and Hoedown.
Arnold began working for television in the early 1950s, hosting The
In 1955, he asked songwriter Cindy Walker to write a song for him based on the idea of unrequited love, with the title "You Don\'t Know Me ". They share co-credit for writing the song.
SECOND CAREER: THE NASHVILLE SOUND
With the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, Arnold's record sales
declined, though fellow
RCA Victor recording artist
Jim Reeves and he
had a greater audience with popular-sounding string-laced
arrangements. Arnold annoyed many people of the country music
establishment by recording with the
Arnold embarked on a second career that brought his music to a more diverse audience. In the summer of 1965, he had his first number-one country song in 10 years, "What\'s He Doing in My World " and struck gold again six months later with the song that became his most well-known, " Make the World Go Away ", accompanied by pianist Floyd Cramer on piano and featuring the Anita Kerr Singers . As a result, Arnold's rendition became an international success. "Make The World Go Away" became his only top ten pop hit.
Bill Walker's orchestra arrangements provided the lush background for
16 continuous successes sung by Arnold in the late 1960s. Arnold
performed with symphony orchestras in New York City, Las Vegas, and
Hollywood. He performed in
LATER YEARS AND DEATH
During the 1980s, Arnold declared himself semiretired, but he continued recording. In 1984, the Academy of Country Music awarded Arnold its Pioneer Award. His next album, You Don't Miss A Thing, was not released until 1991. Arnold performed road tours for several more years. By 1992, he had sold nearly 85 million records, and had a total of 145 weeks of number-one songs, more than any other singer.
In 1996, RCA issued an album of Arnold's main successes since 1944 as part of its 'Essential' series. Arnold, then 76 years old, retired from active singing, though he still performed occasionally. On May 16, 1998, the day after his 80th birthday, he announced his final retirement during a concert at the Hotel Orleans in Las Vegas. That same year, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences inducted the recording of "Make The World Go Away" into the Grammy Hall of Fame . In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts . In 2005, Arnold received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy , and later that year, released a final album for RCA entitled After All These Years.
Arnold died from natural causes on May 8, 2008, in a nursing home in Nashville, exactly one week before his 90th birthday. His wife of 66 years, Sally Gayhart Arnold, had preceded him in death by two months. They were survived by two children (Richard E. Arnold, Jr., and JoAnn Arnold Pollard), two grandchildren (K. Michelle Pollard and R. Shannon Pollard, Jr.), and four great-grandchildren (Katie E. Pollard, Sophie Pollard, Rowan Pollard, and Ben Johns).
On May 31, 2008, RCA released "To Life" as a single from the album After All These Years. It debuted at number 49 on the Hot Country Songs charts, Arnold's first entry in 25 years and the recording by the oldest person to chart in Billboard magazine. It set the record for the longest span between a first chart single and a last: 62 years and 11 months ("Each Minute Seems Like a Million Years" debuted on June 30, 1945), and extended Arnold's career chart history to seven decades.
For a list of singles and albums, see Eddy Arnold discography .
* ^ PFC John Hendrix Arnold on Find a Grave
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* ^ "Country legend