All About Louis Armstrong

"I never tried to prove nothing, just wanted to give a good show. My life has always been my music, it's always come first, but the music ain't worth nothing if you can't lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, 'cause what you're there for is to please the people."
- Louis Armstrong

Last Updated: 2005-09-12
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His real birth date is August 4, 1901, but some people believe it was July 4, 1900. He was sent to a different family when he was a kid for shooting a pistol in the air on New Years Eve. The family that took care of him was a Jewish family that lived in an area in New Orleans called "The Battlefield" because it was so bad. He had to clean graves and sell coal for money. A member of the family bought him a tin horn. He later learned how to play the cornet. He played his cornet on the streets for money, and so bars could kid customers. As he grew up, he still played his cornet. He was the best in his high school marching band. But when he was an adult, he was best in the world. He mainly played New Orleans style jazz, just like his biggest influence Joe King Oliver. But his late music was actually more pop. Louis had a few different nicknames, including 'Pops' and 'Satchmo' (which was short for 'Satchelmouth'). He played with 'King' Oliver, Paul Barbarin, and sometimes he played with Al Hirt. But he was mostly a leader to the bands he played with. Louis played the most important jazz record of all time, "West End Blues". In the begining of the song, he played like nobody else had played before. His opening solo was fast, showed range, and skipped certain notes. It was improvisation like never heard before.

Louis also played songs that you can hear anytime in New Orleans, such as "New Orleans Stomp", "Basin Street Blues", and the most popular one of all, "When the Saints Go Marching In". Louis was very famous for comedy on stage. While singing a song, he would say a joke or insult something (be bop). He was famous for his smile when he played the trumpet, and for his raspy voice. Louis invented something called scat singing, which is where you sing non-since words or sounds. He music fell off the stand one day (while recording), so he improvised and sang something that didn't really sound good, but people enjoyed. Louis was the most important and most influential figure in jazz, but things started to change. As he got old, he got very sick. His doctor told him he couldn't sing on stage again, or he would die. Louis was too courageous, and said he had to do it. He sang and performed many times, even though he wasn't supposed to. In 1971, a few years after he released "What a Wonderful World" and "Hello, Dolly!", he died at his house in New York. He died the same year as the other most important jazzman, Duke Ellington. After the two deaths, jazz basically died. All the jazz bars and clubs on 52nd street in New York, were shut down. And most of the other popular/successful jazz artists died as well. But without Louis and Duke, but especially Louis, jazz wouldn't have lived nearly as long. Louis influenced people before his death like Clifford Brown, who influenced Lee Morgan, who influenced Russell Gunn and so on. Even today, Louis is called the greatest jazz artist who ever lived. And in New Orleans, you can see and buy Louis Armstrong merchandise and visit exibits/museums. Louis will always be remembered as not only a great trumpeter, but a great man.
Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong poster

Louis Armstrong postage stamp
The 5 Greatest Louis Armstrong Albums:
1. West End Blues
1. Cornet Shop Suey
2. Muskrat Ramble
3. West End Blues
4. Basin Street Blues
5. St. James Infirmary
6. Mahogany Hall Stomp
7. Black And Blues
8. Some Of These Days
9. St. Louis Blues
10. Dear Old Southland
11. Sweethearts On Parade
12. Shine
13. Lazy River
14. Georgia On My Mind
15. Lonesome Road
16. All Of Me
17. That's My Home
18. I've Got The World On A String
West End Blues album cover
2. Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
1. St Louis Blues
2. Yellow Dog Blues
3. Loveless Love
4. Aunt Hagar's Blues
5. Louis Armstrong Monologue
6. Long Gone
7. Memphis Blues (Or Mister Crump)
8. Beale Street Blues
9. Ole Miss
10. Chantez Les Bas (Sing 'em Low)
11. Hesitating Blues
12. Atlanta Blues (Make Me One Pallet On Your Foot)
Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy album cover
3. Ella and Louis
1. Can't We Be Friends
2. Isn't This A Lovely Day?
3. Moonlight In Vermont
4. They Can't Take That Away From Me
5. Under A Blanket Of Blue
6. Tenderly
7. A Foggy Day
8. Stars Fell On Alabama
9. Cheek To Cheek
10. Nearness Of You, The
11. April In Paris
Ella and Louis album cover
4. What a Wonderful World
1. What A Wonderful World
2. Cabaret
3. Home Fire
4. Dream A Little Dream Of Me
5. Give Me Your Kisses (I'll Give You My Heart)
6. Sunshine Of Love
7. Hello Brother
8. There Must Be A Way
9. Fantastic That's You
10. I Guess I'll Get The Papers And Go Home
11. Hellzapoppin'
What a Wonderful World album cover
5. Hello, Dolly!
1. Hello, Dolly! - (from "Hello, Dolly!")
2. It's Been A Long, Long Time
3. Lot Of Livin' To Do, A - (from "Bye Bye Birdie")
4. Kiss To Build A Dream On, A
5. Someday
6. Hey, Look Me Over
7. I Still Get Jealous
8. Moon River
9. Be My Life's Companion
10. Blueberry Hill
11. You Are Woman, I Am Man / Jeepers Creepers
Hello, Dolly! album cover
A Selected Discography (in order of release date)
The Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings
    (Columbia/Legacy; Nov. 1925-Feb. 1929)
Hot Fives, Vol. 1
    (Columbia; Nov. 12 ,1925-Jun. 23, 1926)
Hot Fives and Sevens, Vol. 2
    (Columbia; Jun. 28, 1926-May 13, 1927)
The Louis Armstrong Collection, Vol. 4: Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines
    (May 9, 1927-Dec. 12, 1928) (Columbia)
Hot Fives and Sevens, Vol. 3
    (Columbia; May 13, 1927-Jun. 28, 1928)
Louis Armstrong, Vol. 5: Louis in New York
    (Columbia/Legacy; Mar. 5, 1929-Nov. 26, 1929)
Louis Armstrong Collection, Vol. 6: St. Louis Blues
    (Columbia/Legacy; Dec. 10, 1929-Oct. 9, 1930)
Big Bands, Volume 1, 1930-31
    (JSP Records; Apr. 1930-Apr. 1931)
Louis Armstrong Collection, Vol. 7: You're Driving Me Crazy
    (Columbia/Legacy; Oct. 16, 1930-Nov. 3, 1931)
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra 1934-1936
    (Classics; Oct. 1934-Feb. 4, 1936)
Rhythm Saved the World
    (GRP/ MCA; Oct. 1935-Feb. 1936)
Pocketful of Dreams, Vol. 3
    (GRP; Oct. 3, 1935-Jun. 21, 1938)
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra 1936-1937
    (Classics; Feb. 4, 1936-Apr. 7, 1937)
Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra, Vol. 2 (1936-1938): Heart Full of Rhythm
    (GRP/Decca; Apr. 28, 1936-Jan. 15, 1938)
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra 1937-1938
    (Classics; Jun. 29, 1937-May 13, 1938)
Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra 1940-1942
    (Classics; May 1, 1940-Apr. 17, 1942)
Pops: 1940s Small Band Sides
    (RCA/Bluebird; Sep. 6, 1946-Oct. 16, 1947)
The Complete Town Hall Concert
    (RCA; May 17, 1947)
Satchmo at Symphony Hall
    (GRP; Nov. 30, 1947)
The Complete Decca Studio Louis Armstrong All-Stars
    (Mosaic; Apr. 26, 1950-Oct. 8, 1958)
Louis Armstrong and His All-Stars
    [Storyville] (Storyville; 1954)
Satch Plays Fats: The Music of Fats Waller
    (Columbia/Legacy; Apr. 26, 1955-May 3, 1955)
Satchmo the Great
    (Columbia/Sony; 1955-1956)
Ambassador Satch
    (Columbia/Legacy; 1956)
Great Chicago Concert 1956
    (Sony; Jun. 1, 1956)
Let's Do It
    (Verve; Aug. 1957-Sep. 1964)
The Essential Louis Armstrong
    (Verve; Jun. 4, 1965)
Louis Armstrong and the Blues Singers
    (Affinity; Oct. 16, 1924-Jul. 16, 1930)
Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson
    (Verve; 1957)
Armstrong/ Ellington: Together for the First Time/ The Great Reunion
    (Mobile Fidelity; Apr. 3, 1961-Apr. 5, 1961)
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington: The Great Summit/Complete Sessions
    (Roulette; Apr. 3, 1961-Apr. 5, 1961)
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington: The Complete Blue Note Sessions
    (Blue Note; originally recorded for Roulette Records; Apr. 3, 1961-Apr. 5, 1961)
The 50 Greatest Louis Armstrong Songs:
1. West End Blues
2. What a Wonderful World
3. Hello, Dolly!
4. Black and Blue
5. When the Saints Go Marching In
6. New Orleans Stomp
7. Basin Street Blues
8. Chimes Blues
9. (Boogie Woogie On) St. Louis Blues
10. Mack the Knife
11. Chinatown, My Chinatown
12. Moon River
13. Jeepers Creepers
14. Tiger Rag
15. Potato Head Blues
16. Summertime
17. Blueberry Hill
18. Cabaret
19. Ain't Misbehavin'
20. A Fine Romance
21. Star Dust
22. Lazy River
23. King Porter Stomp
24. Heebie Jeebies
25. That's My Desire
26. Cake Walkin' Blues (From Home)
27. Blue Skies
28. A Kiss to Build a Dream On
29. Stompin' at the Savoy
30. Mahogany Hall Stomp
31. Dippermouth Blues
32. St. James Infirmary
33. Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
34. You're Driving Me Crazy
35. On the Sunny Side of the Street
36. Honeysuckle Rose
37. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
38. Royal Garden Blues
39. Rockin' Chair
40. Marie
41. I Double Dare You
42. Shadrack
43. Please Don't Talk About Me
44. Tight Like This
45. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
46. C Jam Blues
47. Blue Again
48. High Society
49. Don't Fence Me In
50. Back O'Town Blues
Hello, Dolly! (1969) Louis, Orchestra Leader
A Man Called Adam (1966) Willie Ferguson
Paris Blues (1961) Wild Man Moore
Cabin in the Sky (1943) Trumpeter
Dr. Rhythm (1938) Trumpeter
Going Places (1938) Gabe Jeepers Trainer
Artists & Models (1937) Bandleader
Pennies from Heaven (1936) Henry
Placements On DigitalDreamDoor Lists (as of 12/2015):
Greatest Jazz Artists - #1
Greatest Jazz Trumpeters - #1
Greatest Jazz Vocalists - #5
Greatest Jazz Vocal Albums - #7, #13, #65
Greatest Jazz Vocal Standards - #4, #34, #60, #69, #75, #77
Greatest Jazz Vocal Standards (Honorable Mentions) - I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Hello Dolly!
Greatest Jazz Instrumentals - #1
Greatest Jazz Ballads - #2, #12, #17, #23, #41, #46
Greatest Jazz Albums - #98
Greatest Jazz Albums (Honorable Mentions) - West End Blues

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