Eddy Arnold has passed away just days short of his 90th birthday. He was a legend in country music. Arnold helped the "hillbilly music" of the 30's & 40's evolve into the "Nashville sound" of the 60's & 70's. Arnold paved the way for country artist to like Kenny Rogers, Shania Twain, Faith Hill and Glenn Campbell to top the Adult Contemporary charts. He went from being "the Tennessee Plow-boy" in his early days to reinventing himself in the Sixties as a tuxedo-clad crooner like Frank Sinatra and Dead Martin. Martin was one of his fans, as was Leonard Nimoy (which explains his attempts at country music) and my father.
I went with my parents to see Arnold when he was in Branson a few years back (a double bill with the Chordettes). He could still sing the songs, but he was really too sick to perform. He had a horrible cough (he blamed it on "sleeping on the porch") and at one point, he went into a coughing fit and I thought "I'm going to see him die on stage."
Here is CNN's story about Eddy Arnold.