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Eddy began his concert career in January, 1928 after returning from his studies in Germany. He soon became a major name on the very active pre-TV concert circuit. He also had 20 oratorios in his repertoire.
In 1933, the beloved diva Lotte Lehmann fell ill and cancelled a sold-out concert in Los Angeles. The only singer of sufficient stature who was near enough to arrive in time was Nelson. He rushed to L.A. from San Diego on February 28, 1933 and scored a professional triumph with eighteen curtain calls. Film offers immediately followed. After much agonizing, he decided that being seen on screen might boost audiences for his real work, his concerts. (Also, like his father, he was fascinated with gadgets and the mechanics of the new talking pictures.) Eddy was right about the power of films: his concert fee soon rose from $500 to $10,000 a night!
Eddy’s film contract with MGM specified that he would have 3 months off each year for concerts, and he continued to make regular tours. He did his first “war effort” concert on 10/19/39 with Leopold Stokowski for Polish war relief. During World War II, he sang at benefits, U.S.O.s, and camp shows, touring 35,000 miles during 2 months in 1943 to remote military bases from Natal to the Azores.