Since my birth in 1952, I have always liked country music.
Our home always had a country station tuned
in. Eddy Arnold and his soothing voice was always there. The mid sixties were filled with Eddy Arnold hits
over the radio waves and they were good years. Eddy could be seen on television frequently. The first time I
saw Eddy Arnold in person was in August, 1974 at the then Garden State Arts Center. I was mesmerized at
his performance and I knew there and then, I needed to have every recording of Eddy Arnold. After the
concert, he was gracious enough to come to the edge of the stage to shake hands with lucky people in the
audience, of which I was one. That began a relationship with Eddy Arnold that lasts until this day, almost 25
After the concert, I wrote to him in care of the Arts Center.
Not only did he respond with the requested
autographed photo but even included a letter. I was deeply impressed that he would take the time out of his
busy schedule to spend so much time on a response to me! Over the years I discovered that this trait is what
makes his fans love him and why they have such fierce loyalty and devotion. He deserves it because he
treats his fans like old time friends, and few if any celebrities do that.
I started writing to him from that point on and he responded to every
letter. The next year when I made my
first trip to Nashville in 1975, he gave me his office phone for me to call so we could get together if he was
available. Unfortunately, he was not available that trip but I began a friendship with another great human
being, his secretary Roberta Edging, a warm and big hearted person as anyone who ever spoke to her can
Future trips to Nashville gave me two opportunities to meet with
him at his office. He always extended himself
and never looked at his watch or was mindful of the time. He gave me all the time I needed to be with him and
to soak in all in. I have also had the pleasure to see him in concert again at the Garden State Arts Center, two
times in Towson, Maryland, once in Connecticut and in Atlantic City, my last time in 1989. There is no greater
thrill than to be waiting in line to greet Eddy Arnold and as you approach him, he greets you by name! I will
always remember the chats we had after each performance and how he made sure that everyone got the
opportunity and the time they needed with him. I was always impressed that after the show, no matter how
tired he was, he stayed and talked to his fans as long as they wanted. I must confess, every time I met with
him, I was very reluctant to part! I am deeply saddened that I will never be able to see him in concert again
but he has earned his retirement.
To collect all of his records, I needed a listing of what those records
were and that led to my compiling a
discography, which I am proud to have had published by Greenwood Press in 1997. This was a labor of love
and all the years of preparation made me feel one with him. It began around 1975 when I first went to RCA in
New York City and they let me use their library to research the recordings. I also used the library of the
Country Music Association at the Hall of Fame in Nashville. With the help of my future wife, I compiled a
listing of all the records I had discovered, when they were recorded and where they appeared. I had the great
fortune to present this to Mr. Arnold at his motel room when he was appearing at the Arts Center in 1978. I
had let this project slip until the 1990's when I felt that Eddy Arnold deserved to have a detailed discography
like other stars. I had contacted Greenwood Press with the idea and they gave me the OK but I had to do more
research and change the format of my original work. For the next year and half, I worked closely with RCA,
Roberta and my notes until the Eddy Arnold Discography, 1944-1996 was published in May, 1997. To my amazement, two other Eddy Arnold books were published that same month! Imagine, all the years with no books and then three at once.
I felt bound to have this work completed for Mr. Arnold so that he
could see how his fans felt about him and
so he could see in print all that he had accomplished over the years. If he is happy with the finished product,
and I think he is, it was worth all the time and effort.
Through all the years I have know him, he has always been a gentleman
and as eager to be of assistance as
possible. I have also met other great people like Roberta, Gabe Tucker and of course, Bill Comer. I do not
have to say anything about Bill, he is loved and respected by every Eddy Arnold fan.
Eddy Arnold will always be special. His songs have gotten me
through some tough times and I have shared
every emotion with them. I think the song that best sums him up is "Last of the Love Song Singers" and he is
the last of the love song singers. He can never be replaced and no one, no matter who they are on the scene
today, can ever come close to the magic, charm and inspiration that Eddy Arnold can create. Eddy Arnold
needs no tricks or gimmicks, he uses talent and sincerity to win over his audience. He is the last of them and
some day, this world will be a little sadder when we can no longer see the twinkle of his eyes and hear the roar
of his laughter and be confined to records and CDs to hear his voice.
Eddy Arnold, thanks for a lifetime.
Mike Freda's book, Eddy Arnold Discography, 1944-1996 is still available and can be purchaed on Amazon.com or your local book store. This book is a must for every Eddy Arnold fan. Thanks Mike for sharing these comments with Eddy Arnold fans world wide. Bill Comer
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