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Eddy Arnold

Pioneer of the Nashville Sound

Michael Streissguth

Publication Year: 2009

"Fans of Arnold's mellow music will appreciate the intensely detailed record of his private life and public career. Others may find the vivid picture of country music's early decades (the many small-town radio stations and deejays that supported the music, the backroads tours, the struggling record labels) quite intriguing." --Kirkus Reviews Illustrated with fifty-four photographs and featuring a comprehensive discography and sessionography, this book traces Eddy Arnold's origins from a cotton farm in western Tennessee to his legendary status in the world of country music. Michael Streissguth covers Arnold's success as a top-selling artist in the 1940s and 1950s and his temporary wane as listeners gravitated toward the rock & roll sound, embodied by newcomer Elvis Presley. Arnold (1918-2008) kept recording, however, and working on his craft. By the mid-60s, he reemerged as a pop crooner with his hit song "Make the World Go Away." His blend of country sentiments and pop stylings created the template for Nashville's modern country music sound. Throughout his career he was a major concert attraction and a radio and television star. Few other figures can claim to have had as great an influence on contemporary country and popular arranging.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

CONTENTS

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pp. v-

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PREFACE

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pp. vii-viii

Like most fascinations people have with musicians, my interest in Eddy Arnold springs from my youth. Every day after school in my ninth-grade year at Damascus High School, I plopped down on the couch with a snack and the day's sports section and flipped...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. ix-x

Biography is, at best, a flawed attempt to define the life and work of an individual. This biography reached a lesser degree of imperfection only with the assistance of people. I am indebted to many. Ahead of all help, of course, was Eddy....

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PROLOGUE

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pp. xi-xiii

Eddy Arnold stepped off a passenger airliner in New York City during the summer of 1964. The metropolis was old territory to Arnold. The singer who had dwarfed any country performer to ever bend a note could remember passing through the city on a World War II....

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1

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pp. 3-8

Tennessee's hills lose their blue, bulbous splendor as they roll west from the midstate Cumberland Plateau to the Mississippi River. Their decline marks the final chapter in the east-to-west descent of the terrain that tumbles from sharp, rugged ridges near North Carolina...

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2

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pp. 9-26

When Ed Arnold unleashed his first chorus on May 15,1918, Americas first war with Germany was little more than a year old. Newspapers on that Wednesday in May traced the inch-by-inch advances against the Germans in Hailles, France, where French troops pushed...

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3

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pp. 27-39

The future, Ed decided, dwelt up U.S. Route 45 in Jackson, Tennessee. Georgia, John, and W. D. could keep the farm going, and he would send money home. So, like his sister Patty before him, Ed—guitar in hand—blazed a path away from the farm. He told friends...

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4

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pp. 40-62

Frank Julius Anthony Kuczynski died in the early 19305, and Pee Wee King rose from his remains. As Frankie King, a name he took in tribute to his favorite bandleader, Wayne King, Kuczynski led the King's Jesters, a Wisconsin-based band that toured the Dairy State...

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5

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pp. 63-84

"Hillbilly music," the term music journalists tended to use at the time to describe country-flavored music of all styles, exploded commercially in the early 19408. "Thar's gold in them thar hillbilly and other American folk tunes," Billboard magazine declared in 1942. Sales of country...

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6

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pp. 85-102

Eddy probably could do little but laugh as "Divorce Me C.O.D." pummeled "That's How Much I Love You" on the charts and, if he did laugh, he laughed heartily because Eddy Arnold never titters. Even the word "laughter" inadequately describes Eddy's eruption when...

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7

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pp. 103-117

During 1948, only six songs reached number one on Billboard's country chart; incredibly, five of those songs belonged to Eddy Arnold. For eleven weeks in '48, Jimmy Wakely's "One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)" claimed the top spot, but every...

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8

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pp. 118-130

Over the years—between traveling, recording, Hollywood, and radio—Eddy has squeezed in time for a favorite hobby, reading the history of remarkable Americans like Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston, and Abraham Lincoln. A story from his casual studies that Eddy has....

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9

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pp. 131-149

In the light of his forays into the pop charts, Hollywood, and network broadcasting, Eddy yearned to shed the "country" label. With record sales totaling some 18 million by 1952, he had the luxury to make a few choices about his direction. Eddy already had...

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10

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pp. 150-166

Two hundred miles from Nashville, as Eddy looked forward to establishing himself as a pop star, a young Memphian in Sam Phillips s Memphis Recording Service studio was on his way to becoming the major purveyor of the raucous rock and roll sound. To Eddy...

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11

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pp. 167-182

Eddy's musical endeavors had not ground down completely. Since Steve transferred Eddy's sessions to Nashville, Chet Atkins had helped Eddy launch a few country hits. Eddy's pop hopes dashed, there was little to do but return to his core audience; Atkins helped Eddy...

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12

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pp. 183-196

Jerry Purcell, in addition to booking the Roger Miller tour, took a hard look at Eddy's recording prospects. "Eddy was very cold," remembered Purcell. "Eddy was somebody you never could ignore or be impolite to, but he wasn't in a position of power...

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13

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pp. 197-212

The day after his monumental Carnegie Hall performance, Eddy performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, another prestigious New York venue. In July, he returned to the road for an extensive summer tour of midsize American towns: Minot, North...

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14

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pp. 213-231

Country music had finally achieved the respectability and economic viability first suggested when the art form exploded commercially in the 19408. Country songs frequently found favor among the pop audience, and stars like Hank Snow and Johnny Cash seemed....

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15

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pp. 232-245

As Eddy's career cooled, he and his family enjoyed a comfortable material life derived from his mountain-high success in the recording industry and vast dividends from profitable business investments...

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SESSIONOGRAPHY

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pp. 247-310

The sheer breadth of Eddy Arnolds recording career makes it one of history's most remarkable. For more than fifty years, Americans and people around the world have found fresh Eddy Arnold material in their record...

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 311-320

INDEX

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pp. 321-329


E-ISBN-13: 9781604733426
E-ISBN-10: 160473342X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604732696
Print-ISBN-10: 1604732695

Page Count: 302
Publication Year: 2009

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