Born Richard Edward Arnold in Henderson, Tennessee, he made his first radio appearance in 1936. During his childhood, he lost both his father and the family farm. When he turned 18 he left home to try to make his mark in the music world.
Eddy Arnold's formative musical years included early struggles to gain recognition until he landed a job as the lead male vocalist for the Pee Wee King band. By 1943, Arnold had become a solo star on the Grand Ole Opry. He was then signed by RCA Victor. In December of 1944, he cut his first record. Although all of his early records sold well, his initial big hit did not come until 1946 with "That's How Much I Love You." In common with many other country and western singers of the time, he had a folksy nickname: "The Tennessee Plowboy."
Managed by Col. Tom Parker, who later went on to control the career of Elvis Presley, Arnold began to dominate country music. In 1947-48 he had 13 of the top 20 songs. He successfully made the transition from radio to television, appearing frequently in the new medium. In 1955, he upset many in the country music establishment by going to New York to record with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra. The pop-oriented arrangements of "Cattle Call" and "The Richest Man (In the World)", however, helped to expand his appeal beyond its country base.
With the advent of rock and roll, Arnold's record sales dipped in the late 1950's. Along with RCA Victor label-mate Jim Reeves, he continued to try to court a wider audience by using pop-sounding, string-laced arrangements, a style that would come to be known as the Nashville sound.
After Jerry Purcell became his manager in 1964, Arnold embarked on a "second career" that surpassed the success of the first one. In the process, he succeeded in his ambition of carrying his music to a more diverse audience. Already recorded by several other artists, "Make The World Go Away" was just another song until recorded by Arnold. Under the direction of producer Chet Atkins, and showcased by Bill Walker's arrangement and the talents of the Anita Kerr Singers and pianist Floyd Cramer, Arnold's rendition of "Make The World Go Away" became an international hit.
Bill Walker's precise, intricate arrangements provided the lush background for 16 straight Arnold hits through the late 1960's. Arnold started performing with symphony orchestras in virtually every major city. New Yorkers jammed prestigious Carnegie Hall for two concerts. Arnold appeared before the Hollywood crowd at the Coconut Grove and had long, sold-out engagements in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe.
After having recorded for RCA Victor since the 1940's, Arnold left the label to record four albums for MGM Records in the 1970's, posting one hit ("If The Whole World Stopped Lovin' "). He then successfully returned to RCA Victor with both the album Eddy, and the hit single "Cowboy", which evoked stylistic memories of his classic "Cattle Call." After a few more RCA releases, he retired from active singing; however, he did release a new RCA album, "After All These Years" in 2005 at the age of 87.
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