By MATT BLOIS
Country music star Eddy Arnold would have turned 100 this week, and the singer had many connections to the city of Brentwood.
He passed away in 2008, but he donated money to the city to improve the amphitheater in Crockett Park and was the driving force behind several residential developments.
Arnold was born in Henderson, Tennessee, and was the youngest person ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is known for hit songs like “Make the World Go Away” (1966) and “Cattle Call” (1944 and 1955). He would have turned 100 on May 15.
In March 2000, he donated $300,000 to the city to build the tensile roof over the stage at Crockett Park, and the city named the amphitheater in his honor.
Former Brentwood City Manager Mike Walker said that a group of people from Leadership Brentwood asked him to contribute to the project. A few days later, he came to city hall and wrote the city a check right out of his personal checkbook.
“At that point he thought his voice wasn’t good enough to sing, but he kept thinking that we wanted him to sing,” he said. “He was up in his 80s at that point.”
By his own choice Arnold never sang at the amphitheater in the Crockett Park, but the city recognized him and his family for their contribution.
Both a musician and a businessman, Arnold created a private water company in the 1960s that brought water lines to several subdivisions in the city. He later sold the company to the city.
In addition to starting the water company, Arnold also built several subdivisions including Meadowlake behind Brentwood United Methodist Church and the Windstone development off of Murray Lane. His former home, in Nashville just north of the Brentwood city limits along Granny White Pike, is now a real estate development called Você.
“There’s just no question about it. He was instrumental in the formation of what we know as Brentwood today,” Walker said.
Former Brentwood Community Relations Director Linda Lynch remembers seeing Arnold around his office on Franklin Road. She said he would spend at least few hours there every day well into his retirement. There was a restaurant behind the office, and she said he would frequently buy lunch there and take it home to eat with his wife.
“That’s just something that’s small,” she said. “But it just tells you what a nice person he was. He was a genuine person. Anybody that knew him would say that.”
His grandson, Shannon Pollard, works in the same office. He’s a real estate agent, and is developing the Você neighborhood where his grandfather once lived.
To celebrate Arnold’s 100th birthday, Você is putting on a barbecue and a concert featuring performances of his music. The celebration is open to the public and will take place in the Você neighborhood from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17.
The summer concert series at the Eddy Arnold Amphitheater starts with a performance by Rubik’s Groove at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 27. Those concerts will continue every Sunday throughout June.