Louis Armstrong (1901–1971)
How to say the name:
Many people said his first name Louis like ‘Lew-iss’. However, he prefered Lew-ee.
4th August 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
Louis Armstrong’s grave in New York
6th July 1971 in New York, New York.
Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York.
Some famous singles:
- Hello Dolly.
- What a Wonderful World. (See below for a video of this song.)
- When the Saints Go Marchin’ In. (See below for a video of this song.)
- Heebie Jeebies.
- St Louis Blues.
- Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Some (very!) great albums:
- Louis Armstrong and the Hot Five (1925–1928).
- Louis Armstrong and the Hot Seven (1927).
- Louis Armstrong: The Complete RCA Victor Reocrdings (1932–1956).
- Porgy and Bess (1958)—with Ella Fitzgerald.
- Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington: The Complete Collaborations (1961).
- Hello Dolly (1964).
- Plus many others!
Some interesting facts:
- He was one of the greatest jazz artists ever!
- Some people even say he was the greatest musician ever—or at least the greatest musician of the last century!
- He played and recorded great jazz for almost 50 years!
- He is probably the most popular jazz musician of all time. Many people who don’t normally listen to jazz will have heard of Louis Armstrong.
- He both played the trumpet and sang. His style of playing and singing were also quite unique (his singing sounds quite rough).
- His recordings with the ‘Hot Five’ and the ‘Hot Seven’ from the 1920s changed the way jazz was played forever!
- He had a huge impact on popular music, as well as jazz.
- His recording of ‘Hello Dolly’ of 1964 went to the top of the popular music charts in USA. And his recording of ‘What a Wonderful World’ of 1968 went to the top of the popular music charts in the UK.
- His made the idea of ‘scat singing’ popular. This is a type of singing that uses nonsense syllables, instead of words.
- Before the 1920s, jazz was very much music for a group of people. Louis Armstrong changed that in the 1920s by playing as a soloist (a person on their own standing out from the group). After then, soloists became much more common.
- He had a very broad grin. This earned him the nickname ‘Satchmo’ (from ‘satchel mouth).
- He worked with many of the greatest jazz musicians of his time, including King Oliver, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
- King Oliver was one of the main people who helped Louis Armstrong learn how to play jazz.
- He was born into a very poor family (his grandparents had been slaves). He also had a very difficult childhood and ended up in a special home for badly behaved children. However this is where he learnt to play the cornet (a small trumpet).
- He loved to entertain! He played over three hundred concerts a year for many years!
- He often had very sore lips and fingers from playing the trumpet so much!
- He was very popular and very well liked.
- He made a lot of money, but he also gave a lot away.
Here is a video of Louis Armstrong and his band playing the folk song, When the Saints Go Marching In.
Louis Armstrong and his band playing ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’
Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a Wonderful World’
Louis Armstrong also appears in other videos on the following pages:
- Louis Armstrong. This photograph was taken by a World-Telegram staff photographer in 1953. The image is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
- Louis Armstrong’s grave in New York. This photograph was taken by Jim Tipton. I have obtained permission from him to use the image here. Click here for the source of this image.
- Louis Armstrong – When The Saints Go Marching In. The person who posted this on YouTube simply writes: just listen.
- LOUIS ARMSTRONG: what a wonderful world – Que mundo maravilhoso