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| posted on 5/8/2008 at 03:25 PM|
|In my house while growing, about every other vinyl record album that my Dad owned had the square-jawed country legend Eddy Arnold's face on them. The man could sing. And, to this day, after we;ve had a few beers or so, on occasion we will all belt out the unmistakable version of "Cattle Call" sung by Eddy Arnold. He died yesterday, one day before his 90th birthday.|
I'll find out when the great DJ Eddie Stubbs will do his tribute to Eddy on WSM - the radio home of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville that you can listen to online - when he gets it ready. Nobody does a tribute better, with all of the history and songs, and other legends calling with stories about Eddy all night long. Then, if your love has treated you wrong, "Make The World Go Away" will send you in that direction.
May 8, 2008
Eddy Arnold, Country Singer, Is Dead
By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN
NASHVILLE — Eddy Arnold, the gentleman crooner who took country music uptown and sold more than 85 million recordings over seven decades, died Thursday. He was 89.
His death, at a care facility near Nashville, was confirmed by the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.
From his debonair attire to the savvy with which he adapted his sound to popular trends, Mr. Arnold personified the evolution of country music in the years after World War II, from a rural vernacular to an idiom with broad mainstream appeal.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a country and western singer,” he told a reporter for The Charlotte Observer in 1968. “With the type material I do, I’m really a pop music artist.” He added, “I want my songs to be accepted by everyone.”
Mr. Arnold was a harbinger of the lush, orchestral Nashville Sound, made popular by the likes of Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline in the late 1950s and ‘60s. His greatest success was on the country charts, where, taken together, his singles have spent more time — including more time in the top position — than those of any other singer in the music’s history.
Thirty-seven of his hits crossed over to the pop charts. The biggest of those, “Make the World Go Away,” reached the pop Top Ten during the fall of 1965, when it was heard on the radio alongside the latest records by the Beatles, the Supremes and the Rolling Stones.
At the heart of Mr. Arnold’s appeal was his lustrous, purling singing voice. Unlike many of his Nashville peers, he sang not through his nose but from his diaphragm. Influenced by crooners like Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, he favored romantic ballads and novelties over songs about drinking and cheating. Intimacy was his calling card.
Reviewing a concert he gave at Carnegie Hall in March 1968, Robert Shelton observed in The New York Times: “His singing is smooth, earnest, buoyant and uncomplicated. He is sentimental and direct. For women he seems to be a non-challenging romantic figure, and for their husbands is non-threatening.”
Mr. Arnold’s early peak of popularity was from 1945 to 1954, during which he had 57 consecutive singles in the country Top Ten. Nineteen of those hits reached No. 1. Two of them, “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)” and “I Wanna Play House with You,” were later recorded by Elvis Presley, who patterned his crooning style after Mr. Arnold’s.
In 1943 Mr. Arnold hired Colonel Tom Parker as his manager. A former carnival barker, Mr. Parker later directed the career of Mr. Presley.
Mr. Arnold effectively used radio and television as a platform for promoting his music. He was host of a series of network variety shows and appeared as a guest on the likes of Milton Berle’s “Texaco Star Theater.” He also starred in the Hollywood movies “Feudin’ Rhythm” (1949) and “Hoedown” (1950).
Mr. Arnold was among the first country singers to perform in the casino rooms in Las Vegas. He appeared at the Sahara as early as 1953. He announced his retirement from performing in Las Vegas 46 years later, at the Orleans Hotel Casino. That same year, at the age of 81, he had his final record on the charts, a remake of his 1955 hit “The Cattle Call” sung with LeAnn Rimes, then a teenager.
Robert Edward Arnold was born May 15, 1918, in rural Henderson, Tenn. His father died after Mr. Arnold turned 11; several months later, creditors foreclosed on the family farm, forcing the Arnolds to become sharecroppers.
Music became a way out of poverty for Mr. Arnold. He began playing the guitar when he was 7. Ten years later he was performing in beer halls and cafés and singing on the radio in Jackson, Tenn. He went on to work on radio shows in Memphis, St. Louis and Nashville before becoming the lead singer of Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys, a popular act on the Grand Ole Opry, in 1940. Three years later he struck out on his own and formed the Tennessee Plowboys.
He made his early recordings, on which he not only sang but also played guitar, in New York and Chicago under the supervision of Steve Sholes, the head of the country and R&B divisions of RCA. He later recorded in Nashville, working with the producer Chet Atkins, among others.
The rise of rock ‘n’ roll in the mid-1950 saw singers like Mr. Presley supplanting Mr. Arnold and other perennial hitmakers on the country charts. Mr. Arnold considered retiring from the music business to focus on his already successful ventures in real estate development. Instead he dropped his plowboy image and recast himself as a cabaret-style singer clad in a tuxedo and backed by a string section. More Perry Como than Hank Williams, he was the embodiment of “hillbilly” music’s move from the country to the city.
Mr. Arnold was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966 and won the Country Music Association’s first Entertainer of the Year award the following year.
His wife of 66 years, Sally Gayhart Arnold, died on March 11 at the age of 87. Mr. Arnold is survived by their children, Richard Edward Jr. of Nashville and Jo Ann Pollard of Brentwood, Tenn.; and by two grandchildren.
Mr. Arnold is the subject of two biographies, both published in 1997: “I’ll Hold You in My Heart,” by Don Cusic, and “Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound,” by Michael Streissguth. Mr. Arnold told Mr. Streissguth that he carried through his career a sound but simple philosophy about his work:
“I’ve always picked good songs. Even though they were considered country, I always picked a good lyric, and that gave me a wider audience than just the country buyers. I did that on purpose. I just wanted a good song. I never was political about songwriters. I still believe that if you always record good songs, you can have a good career.”
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| posted on 5/8/2008 at 08:01 PM|
|Derek, Eddie Stubbs will be playing plenty of Eddy Arnold cuts tonight in his regular slot, as he always does when an artist passes. WSM has been playing Eddy's music all day.|
There will be a public viewing at the Country Music Hall of Fame for two days, sorry I don't have the dates right now. They're doing this because the Ryman would never hold the crowd that is expected to attend.
Incidentally, despite many appearances, Eddy Arnold was never a cast member of the Opry.
When I was young, my family lived in Madison, TN. (Nashville suburb) a few blocks from the Arnolds. My mother still talks about how nice he and his wife were. Mom would often see them walking about the neighberhood while she pushed me and my younger brother in the stroller. Somewhere, my dad still has a acetate of Cattle Call that was given to him by Mrs. Arnold. We used to wear it out when I was a kid.
Eddy Arnold was also an astute business man who loved real estate. He personally started the water system that the city of Brentwood, TN has. At one point in time, he owned a majority of the property on Music Row. He sold RCA the land they had there offices on. If you drive down Music Row today, the parcels of land that the labels sit on were bought from Eddy.
I met him many times over the years, and he was always, without exception, the nicest man I have ever met. I shot some video with him back in the eighties, he was doing some PSA for early childhood education. There were a dozen or so small kids there for the shoot and their attention span was about 3 seconds long. They whined and cried, wouldn't set still and fidgeted constantly, and the talent wrangler wa at her wits end. Eddy saw the difficulty and quietly sang and told stories to the children for a while as we reset and got ready to continue shooting. He was majic with the kids, just like he was majic with his audiences. They don't make them like him anymore.
Rest in peace Eddy Arnold
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| posted on 5/8/2008 at 08:03 PM|
I thought this thread was going to be about that guy from Green Acres. But he has been dead for a good while now hasn't he?
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