Eddy had no big hits after Jim arrived in Nashville, and the day Reeves died Arnold was in the studio trying to record in the Afrikaans language. He changed his appearance to tuxedos and even adopted some of Jim's mannerisms.
RCA betrayed Mary and so did Chet Atkins by allowing Eddy to cover "Make the World Go Away." Though it had been released in an album in 1965, Mary had envisioned it as a single. Instead, Eddy covered it and it became a huge hit for him, so much so he was invited to host "The Tonight Show" when Johnny Carson was gone. Of course Eddy also recorded Jim's signature song, "Welcome To My World."
Jim himself had a jaded view of Arnold, who was known around Nashville as a ruthless, penny pinching real estate tycoon. Reeves called Eddy Arnold "the poor man's Jim Reeves" and was acutely aware how Eddy was trying to sound like him.
Later, Eddy tried to appease Mary by narrating the story of Jim's life. But I will never forget standing in line at the deejay convention in Nashville one year and hearing some guys behind me talk about how appalled they were at Eddy's actions in trying to replace Gentleman Jim. Mary personally told me how upset she was that RCA and Chet betrayed her agreement with the label and let Eddy cover "Make the World Go Away," thus depriving Jim of what surely would have been a major posthumous hit.
There is more I could tell you about Eddy, including a woman who alleged he sexually harassed her, and how Michael Streissguth's fawning obsession with Arnold is what led him to trash Jim in his book to try to denigrate Jim so as to build up Eddy's image.
But I ask you this: Do you think Eddy Arnold is as popular today around the world as Jim Reeves still is?
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