Eddy Arnold has carved out a character as a suave crooner never regulated nor limited by the frills associated with country music stardom.
After all, he’s considered as the greatest performer of songs of the heart whose contributions can’t be defined. He played an important role in transforming “hillbilly music” from a rural sensation into music with broad-based national appeal. He created a template that is still followed by today’s country singers through the 85 million recordings he sold in seven decades.
Indeed, he’s the most successful country hitmaker of all time. So, let’s get to know more about Eddy Arnold through these interesting facts about him. Keep on scrolling below to find out.
1. He’s a native of Henderson, Tennessee.
Born Richard Edward Arnold on May 15, 1918, the singer came from a large farming family. Sadly, they were reduced to being sharecroppers on the farm they previously owned. When he was 11, Arnold’s father died, forcing him to quit school and start helping on the farm – which was the reason he gained the stage name, the Tennessee Plowboy.
2. He took an interest in music early on.
Arnold’s father played the fiddle, while his mother played guitar – to whom he learned to play the instrument. At 16, Arnold quit school to pursue a career in music. Finally, he made his radio debut in Jackson, Tennessee, two years later and eventually gained a regular spot in Memphis. His big break came when he joined Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys as a singer-guitarist in the early 1940s, which later landed him on the Grand Ole Opry.
3. He was one of the volunteer searchers during the plane crash that killed his friend, country music singer Jim Reeves.
In 1964, the plane Reeves was riding crashed in a wooded area during a return trip from Batesville, Arkansas. More than 700 volunteered for an intensive search on a 20-square‐mile area for two days, which included Arnold. Several photos show him at the crash site shortly after Reeves’ body was found.
4. He was the first artist to receive the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Award.
He took home the prestigious award during the inaugural CMA Awards back in 1967.
5. He remains one of the two youngest artists ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.
While you’re wondering what feat you’ve achieved in your middle life, note that Arnold was already inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966, at the age of 48. Johnny Cash was the other artist who entered the Hall of Fame at 48.
Sadly, Arnold died in 2008 – seven days before his 90th birthday. But Eddy Arnold songs will surely continue to keep his legacy alive. After all, there’s no one who has ever walked the line between earnest country and sappy pop better than he is.