Remembering Eddy Arnold
In 1951 he bought a farm in Brentwood Tennessee and built a home, where he lived for the next 57 years. The late 1950s and early 1960s he worked with his last manager, Gerry Purcell and they teamed up in the mid 1960's to make Eddy Arnold a huge star again. He had his biggest hit "Make The World Go Away", a record that is now in The Grammy Hall of Fame. Eddie's mellow baritone vocals (He liked Bing Crosby and Gene Autrey.) on songs like the 1965 hit "Make the World Go Away," a top 10 pop hit as well as a No. 1 country hit, making him one of the most successful country singers in history. 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. By this time he was performing in a tuxedo with symphonies in addition to concerts in large venues and was as much pop as country - he appealed to both audiences. "I sing a little country, I sing a little pop and I sing a little folk, and it all goes together," he said in 1970.
A TORNADO hit Chester County during the night of March 21 1952, killing people and causing major destruction. On Sunday, March 23 1951 EDDY ARNOLD, offed his help in raising funds for the aid that was needed with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The show was planned for Wednesday night, April 13 at Chester County High School, admission by donation. He brought with him, The Oklahoma Wranglers made up of Guy, Skeeter and Victor Willis and Chuck Wright; The Dickens Sisters, Nancy, Margie and Pattie known for their harmony; The comedy team of Jam-Up and Honey; Little Roy Wiggins and his steel guitar. The show raised $2608.52 for tornado victims. It was all "net" as Eddy Arnold defrayed all expenses for himself and his troupe. Eddy Arnold played to a standing room only crowd of more than 3000 in the gym.
He said at one time he felt that if he did not have a record on the charts that his career was in trouble. But after the 1960s he discovered that his appeal to country fans did not require chart records; he was a popular concert draw including his final concert in 1999. In 1999, Eddy Arnold performed his last concert in Nevada on his 81st birthday with members of his family and a host of friends in attendance. At the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000, Eddy Arnold's duet with LeAnn Rimes on "Cattle Call" was again on the country charts, which made him the only country artist to have chart records in seven different decades. Billboard Magazine considered him as their most All Time Poplar Country Artist with 147 songs on their charts and 28 #1's. He was known as the "Tennessee Plowboy" from his youth of growing up on a farm in Chester County TN and plowing with a team of mules. The singers that backed him up were known as the Needmore Singers, named from the road that he grew up on. Although he retired in 1999, he remained active in the music industry and in the community. He received the "Medal of the Arts" from President Bill Clinton and was awarded a "Lifetime Achievement Grammy". His 100th album, his last was recorded for BMG/RCA in 2005 and was released in 2006. Eddie recorded more than 400 songs - some in the famous Studio B, many of them multiple times with Cattle Call being recorded 7 or 8 times. He sold more than 85 million records.
Eddy was an astute business person making many investments in Davidson and Williamson Co TN. In 1977 he introduced his line of "Eddy Arnold Country Style Beans". He was a multimillionaire, but he never discussed his wealth. After Eddy left the Opry he had a TV show on a TV station competing with WSM on Friday nights, WSM started the Friday Night Frolics that later became the Friday Night Opry to keep from losing viewers. Eddy Arnold, The Tennessee Plowboy was at Freed Hardeman University's daily chapel service on October 9 2003 and fielded questions from a standing room only audience made up of students and faculty members.
Eddy Arnold was preceded in death by his loving wife of 66 years, Sally Gayhart Arnold on March 11 2008, she was the inspiration for many of his love songs. (Her death came as Eddie Arnold recuperated from hip replacement surgery in a different hospital. He could not attend her visitation or funeral, but he went to the Cemetery by ambulance for the burial service.) Richard Edward "Eddie" Arnold, 89, died May 8 2008 at a care facility in Davidson Co TN. He is survived by his daughter, JoAnn Pollard (Richard); son, Richard Edward Arnold, Jr. (Jeannie); grandchildren, Michelle Pollard Johns (Nelson), R. Shannon Pollard (Anissa); great-grandchildren, Katie Elizabeth Pollard, Sophia Virginia Pollard, Rowan Shannon Pollard, Ben Nolen Johns; nephews, Jerry Arnold (Patsy), Bob Ingle (Kay) and Frank Arnold (Mary) and the many wonderful relatives in Chester County TN. Visitation at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Funeral services in the Ryman Auditorium. His family buried him quietly in Woodlawn Memorial Park (Davidson Co TN) so that they could grieve in private. A Brass plaque marker says "Richard E Arnold 1918-2008 and Sally K Arnold 1920-2008.