Comments From Bob Williams
Bob, on stage, at the Grand Ole Opry
This is a short, simple story but one of my precious memories.
Not everyone got the chance to carry Eddy's guitar but I did ,even if it was
only about 10 or 12 feet. In 1947 I was 15 years old and working as a theater
usher in Houston Texas. My mother worked a radio station KLEE and they had live
shows featuring well known recording artists. Well, I went down one afternoon to
see Floyd Tillman in person, and during one of the breaks in the show for a
commercial Eddy Arnold's first manager, Col. Tom Parker, came on and announced
that Eddy would be appearing at the Rice hotel in Houston, and gave the date,
and I remember my great disappointment knowing I had to work that night and
wouldn't be able to go. I wanted so much to see him. Being only 15 I couldn't
drive and my mother would pick me up after work, and she did so on the night of
Eddy's appearance. Knowing how much I wanted to see him she drove me to the Rice
hotel and to the entrance the entertainers used. We waited about half an hour
and his show was finished and I was on the sidewalk waiting for them to come
out. Well, I was rewarded beyond my hopes because first out was a musician I
can't name, but second out was Little Roy Wiggins and in those days the
musicians carried there own equipment. Roy Wiggins was carrying a heavy steel
guitar and an amplifier. Then came Eddy and I call it "providence". He also was
carrying his guitar and an amplifier. A lady ran up to him for an autograph and
he set his things down to give it to her. When he finished he picked up the
amplifier but left the guitar and walked that 10 or 12 feet to a little silver
colored teardrop trailer they used to carry their instruments and equipment in,
and I seized upon the moment. I stepped over and picked up his guitar case and
followed him to his trailer, and handed it to him after he had put his amp
inside. I will never forget that big wide famous Eddy Arnold smile and the thank
you that had the warmth that all who have ever listened to Eddy speak have to be
familiar with. That's it, that's all, but it was at the same time so very much
to me. I had no idea back in 1947 that Eddy would be a life long icon to me. I
loved him as if he were my brother and I will be 80 years old in February of
2012 and he and his voice are still a part of my daily life.
One thing is for sure.
I couldn't have chosen a better role model than Eddy
Dear Bill and Glenda:
Don Stewart wrote me and said you were
accepting Eddy Arnold comments and stories so I am happy to send you
I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and studied the
clarinet and saxophone so my music tastes did not extend to country which by the
way I heard very little of.
My family spent a few months in Houston,
Texas in 1947 when I was 15 years old. It was there I heard the song
"It's A Sin" by Eddy and immediately felt a closeness to him. I have been a
fan ever since. Not only did I buy his records I learned his songs and today I
must know over a hundred of them still. We moved to the Sacramento area of
California shortly after that and I left a standing order at the record
shop save me one of all new releases by Eddy for me and a give me a
call. I didn't even want to hear them before I bought them. If Eddy sang it I
1952 I formed my own band and began
playing the clubs and private dances all around Sacramento. I of course featured
every Eddy Arnold song I knew and that was most of them. I did that as an
avocation for 42 years. And then it happened....My brother and I went to
memorial auditorium to see him in person and I was spellbound. I loved this man
as if he were my own family. But...my brother and I stopped at one of the better
reataurants for something to eat before going home and Eddy walked in with his
entourage of two men who traveled with him and sat down not two feet from me at
the next table. I listened to his friendly banter with the waitress and the
other men and was just totally awe struck. When Eddy laughed you just had to
laugh with him. It was infectious. I couldn't stand it any longer so I got
up and stepped over to him and introduced myself and he was the most gracious
man I had ever met. He made it seem like it was HE who was so glad to meet ME.
He talked with me and made it appear like he had all the time in the world to
spend with me but knowing I was imposing on his meal I shook his hand again and
returned to my seat.
That was one of if not
THE highlight of my life. It w
ould not be the last time as I never missed a Lake Tahoe, Reno or
Las Vegas appearance of his again. I was at his final performance and I cried.
Unlike so many other big names Eddy knew what he was doing. He retired and that
was it. In show business there is a saying that goes, "always leave them wanting
more." Well Eddy, you certainly did that.
There were more encounters but like the
one above they were brief but every one memorable. I am now 78 years old and I
have had Eddy and his music as part of my whole life you might say. How much
more could one want. I sincerely wish I could have been one of his close
friends. There is more but this isn't supposed to be a book so I'll just say I
loved the man, I love his music and his wonderful voice and I'd like to take the
opportunity here to wish his family, his son, and daughter, and their families
the very best.
Thank you Bill and Glenda for the
wonderful website and keeping Eddy's memory and presence alive.
Robert A. (Bob)
Bob: Many thanks for your
contributions to this web site. My son, Robert, and I also attended Eddy's final
concert at The Orleans in Las Vegas on May 16, 1999.
I will always remember this
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