Eddy Arnold, one of the greatest singers in both the country and pop genres, was born May 15, 1918 in Chester County, Tennessee, about 20 miles south of Jackson, TN. In December, 1944, Eddy Arnold, already a star on the Grand Ole Opry, made his first recordings for Victor Records at the WSM Studios-the first recording session by a major label in Nashville. In 1945, he joined forces with Colonel Tom Parker, who was his manager for the next eight years. During that time Eddy Arnold had a string of number one hit records and between 1947-1948, he had the number one song on the country charts for 60 consecutive weeks.
In 1948 he outsold the entire pop division of RCA Victor. Despite his roots as a sharecropper, Eddy Arnold never employed the traditional “nasal twang” long associated with country artists of his time. His musical influences included Bing Crosby, therefore Eddy Arnold’s smooth baritone lent itself more to crooning which helped him cross over into the pop genre and gain favor with non-country audiences. That smooth style has never been paralleled in country music.
During the 1950s Eddy Arnold became the first country artist to host a network prime time show when he became the summer replacement for “The Perry Como Show”. He hosted a network radio show, “The Checkerboard Jamboree” for CBS and starred in two movies, “Feudin’ Rhythm” and “Hoedown”. He became a major concert draw during the late 1940s and in 1952 had “The Eddy Arnold Show” was a summer replacement show for Dinah Shore’s on CBS. His theme song was “Cattle Call,” and he recorded it four different times. His 1955 version with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra was a number one record. In 1955 he also recorded the song “You Don’t Know Me,” a song he co-wrote with legendary songwriter, Cindy Walker. That song later became a standard by Ray Charles and has been covered by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. Most recently it was recorded by Michael Bublé and Willie Nelson.
In 1965, he had his biggest hit “Make The World Go Away”, a record that is now in The Grammy Hall of Fame. In 1966 he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 1967 he became the first person to win the Entertainer of the Year honor from the Country Music Association. Eddy Arnold sold over 85 million records and is the only country artist to have chart records in seven different decades. In 2000, he received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and was awarded a “Lifetime Achievement Grammy” in 2005.
Eddy Arnold died on May 8th, 2008, thus silencing an unmistakable voice that inspired generations of singers and millions of fans alike.
Source: Dr. Don Cusic & R. Shannon Pollard
Some Eddy Arnold Achievements
Sold over 85 million records
Released over 100 albums
145 weeks of #1 songs on the charts
147 songs on the Billboard country music charts
Member of Grand Ole Opry 1943-1948
An innovator of the “Nashville Sound”
1948: Nine songs reached the Billboard charts Top Ten; five of these scored #1 and scored #1 for 40 of the year’s 52 weeks
1966: Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (its youngest honoree)
1967: CMA Entertainer of the Year (first year awarded)
1984: ACM Pioneer Award
2000: Recipient of National Medal of the Arts
2005: GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award
2008: Set the Billboard record in having charting singles over seven decades, spanning 62 years
11 months (6/30/45 – 5/31/08)