American Treasure Tour blog here, excited to tell you about yet another one of the albums on display in our Music Room. Today, we will be focusing on a country music artist who reached the Billboard country music charts 147 times during a career that spanned from the 1940s through to the year of his death: 2008, a success story second only to that of George Jones. We refer, of course, to Eddy Arnold. In a previous entry, we discussed Arnold's album Sings Them Again, but there is plenty of Eddy to go around, and today, we will spend some time with his 1963 album Cattle Call.
Arnold was born on May 15th, 1918. (We are so close to his actual birthday, we should probably wait to do this. But we won't.) He grew up on a farm outside of Henderson, Tennessee, quitting school before graduation so that he could work the soil. And sing. He got his first paying gig at the age of sixteen, and never looked back. His roots were in country music, but his crossover appeal reached many audiences, notably with his cover of Tex Owens' 1934 hit "The Cattle Call." It's become a familiar tune in the genre, recorded by a number of artists, including Tex Ritter, Slim Whitman, LeAnn Rhimes and most recently Dwight Yoakam. Arnold's became the iconic version, and it led him to great things.
What other famous musicians sang versions of the song "The Cattle Call"?
a) Elvis Presely
b) Boxcar Willie
c) Johnny Paycheck
d) Chet Atkins
e) Emmylou Harris
New Orleans. If you have not yet visited, it's worth your time - so long as you make it to Oaks in time for your visit to the American Treasure Tour! They have great music, beautiful architecture, fascinating history - the only thing they don't have is a party atmosphere. They also have a birthday. New Orleans was founded on May 7th, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the authority of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. New Orleans' location at the terminus of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico has made it extremely desirable as a port of trade. It remained a French possession until the Spanish took control of it in 1763. The French took it again in 1801, and held onto it for two years, until Napoleon sold it to the United States government along with the entire Louisiana Territory. Fortunately, no one has made an effort to take it from the United States since then. We intend to keep it.
Who doesn't love looking at the sky on a clear and starry night? Space has always held an allure for humans, and it has only been within the last six decades that we have been able to reach it on any level. First, there were the Mercury and Gemini programs that got the initial American astronauts into space, then the Apollo program, which landed men on the moon. Finally (to date), the space shuttle program. There were six shuttles made for NASA: Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. On this day in 1992, the Endeavour made its first launch out of Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was built to replace the Challenger after its tragic loss after its explosion upon takeoff in 1986. Fortunately, the Endeavour never had such problems, and it clocked in 299 days in space during its run. Retired now, it currently rests at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
If you have ever been to the great city of Philadelphia, and found yourself near the Queen's Village neighborhood, just south of South Street, you may have noticed Bainbridge Street down there, running parallel to South. It's named after William Bainbridge, and today is his birthday! He was born in 1774 in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. The younger Bainbridge took to the sea at an early age, and became part of the new American Navy under President John Adams. He would remain a sailor under five more presidents and during the remainder of his life. He has the dubious honor of having commanded the USS Philadelphia when it grounded off the shores of Tripoli during the Barbary Wars, and also fought in the War of 1812. (If you are unfamiliar with the Barbary Wars - and they don't get much press so don't be upset - there are some good books about them, including Richard Zacks' The Pirate Coast from 2006.)
Every hero needs a sidekick, and no man ever played a sidekick better than the beloved George "Gabby" Hayes. Born today in 1885 in upstate New York, Hayes was a successful vaudeville performer on the east coast during his first four decades. He made enough by the age of 43 to retire to a house in Long Island. And then, the stock market crashed in 1929, leaving him and his wife penniless. So they moved to Los Angeles. Hayes became a staple of western films playing the grizzled old codger and often the comic relief to heroes including Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd), John Wayne and Randolph Scott. All this despite the fact that he had never been on a horse before he moved west, and that he was an educated, intelligent and well-groomed easterner who apparently was not much of a fan of westerns. He was eternally typecast, though, and much loved for the role that made him famous. Happy birthday, Gabby!
I'm trying to sell every audience something. That something is me. - Eddy Arnold
Answer: c) Johnny Paycheck. If only we could be so lucky....