Eddy Arnold (1918-2008) dominated the American country music scene from the end of World War II until the advent of the rock and roll era in 1955. He made a huge comeback during the mid-1960s and continued to record and tour into his early 80s. All in all he placed 28 songs at the top of Billboard‘s country music chart and they have all been gathered together into one set by Real Gone Music and issued under the title Complete Original #1 Hits. It is the word “original” that is important, as Arnold re-recorded many of his hits during the course of his life but all the tracks here are the original single releases.
Arnold had more of a smooth sound than many of the early country artists and so a number of his releases crossed over to mainstream radio, which enlarged his fan base beyond the country market.
Today it is many times forgotten how commercially dominant he was in the field of country music. During 1947-48, he had the number one record on the Billboard country chart for 60 consecutive weeks. In 1948 he sold more records than every pop artist signed to his label, RCA. Some of these early hits were “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms),” “Anytime,” “Bouquet of Roses,” “Texarkana Baby,” and “Just a Little Lovin’ (Will Go a Long Long Way).”
As the 1950s progressed, he moved more toward a pop sound. Gone were the fiddles and pedal steel guitars and in their place were acoustic guitars and a backing male vocal group. His theme song, “Cattle Call,” was recorded with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra.
His commercial appeal declined during the early rock and roll years but he returned in 1965 with the number one “What’s He Doing in My World.” Five more number ones would follow, including “Make the World Go Away,” which was a top 10 pop hit, “Turn the World Around,” and “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.”
The sound has been cleaned up as well as the original masters will allow. There is also a nice booklet, which gives a good overview of his career.
Complete Original #1 Hits is a treasure trove for any fan of Arnold or of early country music. It is an excellent journey through the career of an early American music superstar.