Country music legend Eddy Arnold dead at 89

Thu May 8, 2008 1:38pm EDT
 
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By Pat Harris

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Eddy Arnold, country music's "Tennessee Plowboy," whose rendition of "Make the World Go Away" was an international hit in the 1960s, died on Thursday at age 89 in Nashville after a lengthy illness.

His death was announced by his biographer, Don Cusi.

Rising from a poverty-stricken childhood in Henderson, Tennessee, Arnold connected with the Pee Wee King Band as a singer and went on to a career in which he was named to the Country Music Hall of Fame and received the County Music Association's first entertainer of the year award.

He won many other awards as he moved from pure country into pop-oriented arrangements that attracted a wider audience. In addition to "Make the World Go Away" he scored 16 other consecutive hits in the 1960s. His concerts sold out in New York's Carnegie Hall and he performed in Hollywood's Coconut Grove and top clubs in Las Vegas.

Before his retirement from active singing, he released a new RCA album, "After All These Years," in 2005.

Arnold starred on the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, signed with RCA the following year but did not have a hit until 1946 with "That's How Much I Love You."

Coming under the management of Col. Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, Arnold quickly scored a string of hits and graduated from radio to television.

Many in the country music industry disapproved of his merging country and pop, but with his smooth baritone he quickly gained the reputation of being country's version of Bing Crosby.   Continued...