Richard Edward “Eddy” Arnold (May 15, 1918 – May 8, 2008) was an American country music singer who performed for six decades. He was a so-called Nashville sound (country/popular music) innovator of the late 1950s, and scored 147 songs on the Billboard country music charts, second only to George Jones. He sold more than 85 million records. A member of the Grand Ole Opry (beginning 1943) and the Country Music Hall of Fame (beginning 1966), Arnold ranked 22nd on Country Music Television’s 2003 list of “The 40 Greatest Men of Country Music.”
During the 1980s, Arnold declared himself semiretired, but he continued recording. In 1984, the Academy of Country Music awarded Arnold its Pioneer Award. His next album, You Don’t Miss A Thing, was not released until 1991.Arnold performed road tours for several more years.By 1992, he had sold nearly 85 million records, and had a total of 145 weeks of number-one songs, more than any other singer.
In 1996, RCA issued an album of Arnold’s main successes since 1944 as part of its ‘Essential’ series.Arnold, then 76 years old, retired from active singing, though he still performed occasionally. On May 16, 1998, the day after his 80th birthday, he announced his final retirement during a concert at the Hotel Orleans in Las Vegas.That same year, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences inducted the recording of “Make The World Go Away” into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.In 2005, Arnold received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy,and later that year, released a final album for RCA entitled After All These Years.
Arnold died from natural causes on May 8, 2008, in a nursing home in Nashville, exactly one week before his 90th birthday. His wife of 66 years, Sally Gayhart Arnold, had preceded him in death by two months. They were survived by two children (Richard E. Arnold, Jr., and JoAnn Arnold Pollard), two grandchildren (K. Michelle Pollard and R. Shannon Pollard, Jr.), and four great-grandchildren (Katie E. Pollard, Sophie Pollard, Rowan Pollard, and Ben Johns).
On May 31, 2008, RCA released “To Life” as a single from the album After All These Years. It debuted at number 49 on the Hot Country Songs charts, Arnold’s first entry in 25 years and the recording by the oldest person to chart in Billboard magazine. It set the record for the longest span between a first chart single and a last: 62 years and 11 months (“Each Minute Seems Like a Million Years” debuted on June 30, 1945), and extended Arnold’s career chart history to seven decades.