Monday, May 19, 2008
– What started as a planned 90th birthday tribute to Eddy Arnold ended with the late country singing great charting for seven straight decades, a feat never duplicated.
RCA Nashville had planned to approach radio stations with a request to play the song, "To Life," a song from his 2005 album, "After All These Years," with the intention of earning one more chart hit, and a historic milestone, for Arnold, who recorded such classics as "Make the World Go Away" and "Bouquet of Roses." Arnold's passing on May 8, just days before his 90th birthday on May 15, brought a special meaning to the effort, and radio honored the man and his music by granting the Country Music Hall of Fame legend the 147th chart single of his career. It was not clear where the song charted.
Arnold becomes the only country artist in history to enjoy chart success in each of the past seven decades. He also acquires the career distinction of having the longest span of charted country singles, beginning with "Each Minute Seems a Million Years" on June 30, 1945, and now with "To Life," nearly 63 years later.
Sony BMG Nashville Chairman Joe Galante said, "He is one of those rare singers whose voice is timeless...his success on the charts is now the same."
Arnold's grandson, Shannon Pollard, said, "On behalf of the Arnold family, I would like to thank Joe Galante and his staff at RCA, as well as country radio, for their support and efforts in returning Eddy Arnold back to the charts with the single, 'To Life.' This would be an absolute thrill for him, as it was his last wish to have another hit song." Pollard also expressed his appreciation for last night's Academy of Country Music salute to his grandfather, the 1983 ACM Pioneer Award honoree, adding, "The tribute at the ACMs was beautiful and moving. Thank you very much."
Initiated by the RCA Nashville promotion department, "To Life" was made available to radio in its original version as well as a special edit that included comments Arnold had made in an interview done for the label at the time of the album's release.
The Tennessee Plowboy was 87 years old when his final RCA Nashville album was released in 2005. At the time, Galante recalled him saying that RCA was his home, and indeed, his passion for music-making never faded - even recently expressing interest to Galante in recording yet another album.
Arnold was the Country Music Association's first Entertainer of the Year in 1967, and in 2005, he was presented with a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. In a career with record sales in excess of 85 million albums, Arnold earned more Top 10 hits (92) and more consecutive Top 10 hits (67) than anyone in country history. Ranked as Billboard's number 1 country artist of all time, he also earned 28 chart-topping singles that collectively spent 145 weeks at number 1 - an accomplishment unmatched to this day.