Man oh man, this guy was smooth. People describe Eddy Arnold as being one of the founders of the Nashville Sound, that knocked the rough edges off Hillbilly Music. Others think of his work as the beginning of the countrypolitan trend. BTW. I consider that a derogatory term, but not everybody does. Though he was called the Tennessee Plowboy, a nickname that would have fit in well in the Hillbilly era, his sound was anything but. The song in question here is a good example. Written by Don Robertson and Howard Barnes, it was recorded first by Les Paul & Mary Ford in 1953. Their version hit the Pop charts and stayed there, topping out at #11 in 1954. Then Eddy got ahold of it and rode it to the top of the Country charts. It was his 17th #1 Country hit. This is how popular the guy was at the time. He first hit the charts in ’45 with his first #1 coming a year later. Over his career he placed 147 songs on the Country charts. That, by the way, is second only to George Jones. By the late 50s most of his songs were also placing on the Pop chats as well.
The answer song was penned by the same Robertson & Barnes that wrote the original. Maybe they wrote the two at the same time, maybe RCA requested an answer. I don’t know. Since she’d had success with previous answer songs RCA placed the song with Betty Cody. (I wrote about Betty in Answer Songs Part 3 and Answer Songs Part 4) I suspect that the record label didn’t have much faith in the song because they made it the B side of “Tear Down the Mountains.” They were right, the song failed to chart but Betty is so good she makes it worth you time to listen.
The song actually ends up hitting the charts in 1960, with a version by Skeeter Davis. (You can read about her days with the Davis Sisters in Answer Songs Part 4.) As often happened in country music, her name got added to the songwriting credits. Oh, that mailbox money! Listening to her version side by side with Betty’s the only thing she seems to have added was to slow the song down. And she slowed it down so much I’m not going to bother you with it. So there….
Tomorrow – In addition to Betty Cody, the other go-to-girl for C&W Answer Songs was Goldie Hill. Next time Goldie fesses up to being the Yesterday’s Girl of Hank Thompson’s hit.