Eddy Arnold, the "Tennessee Plowboy," was the Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley in the decade after World War II, when he became the biggest country star of the day, rivaled only by Hank Williams. In that decade he racked up 20 # 1 singles, reflecting his relaxed pop-influenced crooning style according to Billboard and many more Top Tens. Those early hits, with the steel guitar of Little Roy Wiggins, have an ease and relaxation that stands the test of time.
Most singers who have a run like that never get a Phase Two. Arnold did. With a longstanding love of pop music, he got his when he recorded his My World album with a full orchestra, conducted by Bill Walker. He not only reinvented himself, but expanded his audience to adult pop music fans. In 1965, in the midst of Beatlemania, one of the album's songs, Hank Cochran's ballad "Make The World Go Away" became a # 1 country single and a Top Ten pop hit when that didn't happen very often. Just starting his second wind, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. His final new album appeared in 2005, three years before his death in 2008.
Here's some context:
The tribute album promotional video:
I have some 30 second clips of Arnond on the podcast, but here's a bit more:
His hit version of the 20's pop ditty "Anytime."
His innovative "I Really Don't Want To Know" with background singers, an idea that wasn't yet widely used in country music. as it would be a few years later.
His earliest hit with an orchestra: "Cattle Call" accompanied by Hugo Winterhalter's Orchestra, recorded in New York.
A live TV version of "You Don't Know Me."
Kicking back with the host on ABC's Jimmy Dean Show. The Gibson J-200 with his name inlaid in the fingerboard is seen on the cover of the tribute album.
"Make The World Go Away," Orchestra conducted by Bill Walker. The LP cover is the transformational "My World" album.