Eddy Arnold

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Eddy Arnold
Eddie Arnold 1969.JPG
Arnold in 1969
Background information
Birth nameRichard Edward Arnold
Also known asThe Tennessee Plowboy
Born(1918-05-15)May 15, 1918
Henderson, Tennessee, U.S.
DiedMay 8, 2008(2008-05-08) (aged 89)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country, gospel, pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, TV host, actor
Instruments Guitar, banjo
Years active1937–2005
Labels RCA Victor (19441972; 19762008)
MGM Records (19731976)
Associated acts Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Patsy Cline, Stephen H. Sholes, LeAnn Rimes

Richard Edward "Eddy" Arnold (May 15, 1918 May 8, 2008) was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a Nashville sound (country/popular music) innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones. He sold more than 85 million records. A member of the Grand Ole Opry (beginning 1943) and the Country Music Hall of Fame (beginning 1966), Arnold ranked 22nd on Country Music Television's 2003 list of "The 40 Greatest Men of Country Music."

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as folk music and blues.

The Nashville sound originated during the mid 1950s as a subgenre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of the rough honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s with "smooth strings and choruses", "sophisticated background vocals" and "smooth tempos". It was an attempt "to revive country sales, which had been devastated by the rise of rock 'n' roll."

George Jones American musician

George Glenn Jones was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best known song "He Stopped Loving Her Today", as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing. For the last twenty years of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer. Country music scholar Bill Malone writes, "For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved." Waylon Jennings expressed a similar opinion in his song "It's Alright": "If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones." The shape of his nose and facial features earned Jones the nickname "The Possum".


Early years

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 nicknamethe Tennessee Plowboy. 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. [1]

Henderson, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Henderson is a city in Chester County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,309 at the 2010 census, up from 5,670 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Chester County.

Sharecropping form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land

Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range of different situations and types of agreements that have used a form of the system. Some are governed by tradition, and others by law. Legal contract systems such as the Italian mezzadria, the French métayage, the Spanish mediero, the Slavic połowcy,издoльщина or the Islamic system of muqasat, occur widely.

Fiddle musical instrument

A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most often a violin. It is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres including classical music. Although violins and fiddles are essentially synonymous, the style of the music played may determine specific construction differences between fiddles and classical violins. For example, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. To produce a "brighter" tone, compared to the deeper tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers often use steel strings. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles, which are typically aural traditions—taught 'by ear' rather than via written music.

Downtown Henderson, Tennessee, the city near which Arnold was born Downtown henderson tennessee.jpg
Downtown Henderson, Tennessee, the city near which Arnold was born

In 1934, at age 16, Arnold made his debut on WTJS-AM in Jackson, Tennessee. He began performing at local nightclubs and was hired permanently by WTJS in 1937. In 1938, he was hired by WMPS-AM in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was one of its most popular performers. He soon left WMPS for KWK-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, [2] followed briefly by a spot at WHAS-AM in Louisville, Kentucky.

Jackson, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Jackson is a city in and the county seat of Madison County, Tennessee. Located 70 miles (110 km) east of Memphis, it is a regional center of trade for West Tennessee. Its total population was 65,211 at the 2010 census and 67,265 in the 2012 Census estimate.

Memphis, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. The 2017 city population was 652,236, making Memphis the largest city on the Mississippi River, second-largest city in Tennessee, as well as the 25th largest city in the United States. Greater Memphis is the 42nd largest metropolitan area in the United States, with a population of 1,348,260 in 2017. The city is the anchor of West Tennessee and the greater Mid-South region, which includes portions of neighboring Arkansas and Mississippi. Memphis is the seat of Shelby County, the most populous county in Tennessee. As one of the most historic and cultural cities of the southern United States, the city features a wide variety of landscapes and distinct neighborhoods.

Louisville, Kentucky City in Kentucky

Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County, located in the northern region of the state, on the border with Indiana.

He performed for WSM (AM) on the Grand Ole Opry during 1943 as a solo artist. [1] In 1944, Arnold signed a contract with RCA Victor, and with manager Colonel Tom Parker, who would later manage Elvis Presley. Arnold's first single was little noticed, [3] but the next, "Each Minute Seems a Million Years", scored number five on the country charts in 1945. [1] Its success began a decade of unprecedented chart performance; Arnold's next 57 singles all ranked in the top 10, including 19 number-one successes. [4]

WSM (AM) Country music radio station in Nashville, Tennessee

WSM is a 50,000-watt clear channel AM radio station located in Nashville, Tennessee. It broadcasts a full-time country music format at 650 kHz and is known primarily as the home of The Grand Ole Opry, the world's longest running radio program. The station's clear channel signal can reach much of North America and nearby countries, especially late at night. It is one of two clear-channel stations in North America, along with CFZM in Toronto, that still primarily broadcast music. Nicknamed "The Air Castle of the South," it shares its callsign with WSM-FM, also in Nashville, and formerly with television Channel 4, now WSMV.

<i>Grand Ole Opry</i> radio program

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly American country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM. Currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment, it is the longest running radio broadcast in US history. Dedicated to honoring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of famous singers and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, Americana, folk, and gospel music as well as comedic performances and skits. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions of radio and internet listeners.

Colonel Tom Parker Dutch entertainment impresario

Thomas Andrew "Colonel Tom" Parker was the Dutch-born manager of Elvis Presley. Their partnership was uniquely successful, Elvis being an entirely new force in popular music, and Parker an entrepreneurial genius able to market him.

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 19471948. [1] 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. [5] 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.

Mutual Broadcasting System former radio broadcasting system

The Mutual Broadcasting System was an American commercial radio network in operation from 1934 to 1999. In the golden age of U.S. radio drama, Mutual was best known as the original network home of The Lone Ranger and The Adventures of Superman and as the long-time radio residence of The Shadow. For many years, it was a national broadcaster for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and Notre Dame football. From the mid-1930s and until the retirement of the network in 1999, Mutual ran a highly respected news service accompanied by a variety of popular commentary shows. During the late 1970s, Mutual pioneered the nationwide late night call-in radio show and introduced the country to Larry King.

Ernest Tubb American singer and songwriter of country music

Ernest Dale Tubb, nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of country music. His biggest career hit song, "Walking the Floor Over You" (1941), marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music. In 1948, he was the first singer to record a hit version of Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson's "Blue Christmas", a song more commonly associated with Elvis Presley and his late-1950s version. Another well-known Tubb hit was "Waltz Across Texas" (1965), which became one of his most requested songs and is often used in dance halls throughout Texas during waltz lessons. Tubb recorded duets with the then up-and-coming Loretta Lynn in the early 1960s, including their hit "Sweet Thang". Tubb is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

CBS Radio was a radio broadcasting company and radio network operator owned by CBS Corporation, and consolidated radio station groups owned by CBS and Westinghouse Broadcasting/Group W since the 1920s and Infinity Broadcasting since the 1970s. The broadcasting company was sold to Entercom on November 17, 2017.

Arnold began working for television in the early 1950s, hosting The Eddy Arnold Show . The summer program was broadcast successively by all three television networks, replacing the Perry Como and Dinah Shore programs. [6] He also performed as a guest and a guest host on the ABC-TV show Ozark Jubilee from 195560. [7] Arnold featured in the syndicated Eddy Arnold Time from 1955 to 1957. [2] From 1960 to 1961, he hosted NBC-TV's Today on the Farm . [8]

The Eddy Arnold Show is the name of three similar American network television summer variety programs during the 1950s hosted by Eddy Arnold and featuring popular music stars of the day. It was also the name of a radio program starring Arnold.

Perry Como American singer, actor, television personality

Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como was an American singer, actor and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century he recorded exclusively for RCA Victor for 44 years, after signing with the label in 1943. "Mr. C.", as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show. His weekly television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all."

The Dinah Shore Show is an American variety show which was broadcast by NBC from November 1951 to July 1957, sponsored by General Motors' Chevrolet division. For most of the program's run, it aired from 7:30 to 7:45 Eastern Time on Tuesday and Thursday nights, rounding out the time slot which featured the network's regular evening newscast, which, like all such programs of the era, was then only 15 minutes in length.

Second career: The Nashville sound

With the rise of rock and roll in the mid 1950s, Arnold's record sales began to decline, though fellow RCA Victor country recording artist Jim Reeves found a greater audience with popular-sounding string-laced arrangements. Arnold annoyed many in the country music establishment by recording with Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra at the RCA Victor studios in New York. Winterhalter's pop-oriented arrangements of "The Cattle Call" and "The Richest Man (in the World)", however, helped to expand Arnold's appeal beyond its country music base. [9] This style, pioneered by Reeves and Arnold, became known as the "Nashville Sound". [9] During 1953, Arnold and Tom Parker had a dispute, and Arnold dismissed him. [10] From 1954 to 1963, Arnold's performances were managed by Joe Csida; in 1964, Csida was replaced by Jerry Purcell. [11]

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. [9]

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 Carnegie Hall for two concerts, and in the Coconut Grove in Las Vegas. [9] In 1966, Arnold was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the youngest performer to receive the honor. [12] The following year, Arnold was voted the first-ever awarded Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year. [13] Two years later, he released an autobiography named It's A Long Way From Chester County. [14]

Having been with RCA Victor since 1944, Arnold left the label in 1973 for MGM Records, where he recorded four albums, which included several top-40 successes. He returned to RCA in 1976. [1] In the same years, he was initiated to the Masonic Lodge of East Nashville No. 560. [15] [16]

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. [1] Arnold performed road tours for several more years. [17] 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. [1]

Arnold in 1998 Eddy Arnold.jpg
Arnold in 1998

In 1996, RCA issued an album of Arnold's main successes since 1944 as part of its 'Essential' series. [1] Arnold, then 76 years old, retired from active singing, though he still performed occasionally. [9] 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. [18] 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. [19] In 2005, Arnold received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, [20] and later that year, released a final album for RCA entitled After All These Years. [21]

Arnold died from natural causes on May 8, 2008, in a nursing home in Nashville, seven days 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, Jack Pollard, Rowan Pollard, and Ben Johns). [22]

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. [23]


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