Louis Armstrong
Overview
Louis Armstrong nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performance.

With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive gravelly voice, resembling the sound of a trumpet, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes.
Quotations

The Brick House was one of the toughest joints I ever played in ... Guys would drink and fight one another like circle saws. Bottles would come flying over the bandstand like crazy and there was lots of plain common shooting and cutting. But somehow all that jive didn't faze me at all. I was so happy to have some place to blow my horn.

Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (1954)

Encyclopedia
Louis Armstrong nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" cornet and trumpet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performance.

With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive gravelly voice, resembling the sound of a trumpet, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also greatly skilled at scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

, vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics.

Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general.

Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over," whose skin-color was secondary to his amazing talent in an America that was severely racially divided. It allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a person of color. While he rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, he was privately a strong supporter of the Civil Rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 in America.

Early life

Armstrong often stated that he was born on July 4, 1900, a date that has been noted in many biographies. Although he died in 1971, it was not until the mid-1980s that his true birth date of August 4, 1901 was discovered through the examination of baptismal records
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

.

Armstrong was born into a very poor family in New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, the grandson of slaves. He spent his youth in poverty, in a rough neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans
Uptown New Orleans
Uptown is a section of New Orleans, Louisiana on the East Bank of the Mississippi River encompassing a number of neighborhoods between the French Quarter and the Jefferson Parish line. It remains an area of mixed residential and small commercial properties, with a wealth of 19th century architecture...

, known as “Back of the Town”, as his father, William Armstrong (1881–1922), abandoned the family when Louis was an infant and took up with another woman. His mother, Mary "Mayann" Albert (1886–1942), then left Louis and his younger sister Beatrice Armstrong Collins (1903–1987) in the care of his grandmother, Josephine Armstrong, and at times, his Uncle Isaac. At five, he moved back to live with his mother and her relatives, and saw his father only in parades.

He attended the Fisk School for Boys. It was there that he likely had his first exposure to Creole music
Zydeco
Zydeco is a form of uniquely American roots or folk music. It evolved in southwest Louisiana in the early 19th century from forms of "la la" Creole music...

. He brought in some money as a paperboy and also by finding discarded food and selling it to restaurants, but it was not enough to keep his mother from prostitution
Prostitution
Prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms, including a "john". Prostitution is one of...

. He hung out in dance halls close to home, where he observed everything from licentious dancing to the quadrille
Quadrille
Quadrille is a historic dance performed by four couples in a square formation, a precursor to traditional square dancing. It is also a style of music...

. For extra money he also hauled coal to Storyville
Storyville
Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1897 through 1917. Locals usually simply referred to the area as The District.-History:...

, the famed red-light district, and listened to the bands playing in the brothels and dance halls, especially Pete Lala's where Joe "King" Oliver performed and other famous musicians would drop in to jam.

After dropping out of the Fisk School at age eleven, Armstrong joined a quartet of boys who sang in the streets for money. But he also started to get into trouble. Cornet player Bunk Johnson
Bunk Johnson
Willie Gary "Bunk" Johnson was a prominent early New Orleans jazz trumpet player in the early years of the 20th century who enjoyed a revived career in the 1940s....

 said he taught Armstrong (then 11) to play by ear at Dago Tony's Tonk
Honky tonk
A honky-tonk is a type of bar that provides musical entertainment to its patrons...

 in New Orleans, although in his later years Armstrong gave the credit to Oliver. Armstrong hardly looked back at his youth as the worst of times but instead drew inspiration from it, “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans...It has given me something to live for.”

He also worked for a Lithuanian-Jewish immigrant family, the Karnofskys, who had a junk hauling business and gave him odd jobs. They took him in and treated him as almost a family member, knowing he lived without a father, and would feed and nurture him. He later wrote a memoir of his relationship with the Karnofskys titled, Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907. In it he describes his discovery that this family was also subject to discrimination by "other white folks' nationalities who felt that they were better than the Jewish race. I was only seven years old but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the White Folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for." Armstrong wore a Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

 pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: "how to live—real life and determination." The influence of Karnofsky is remembered in New Orleans by the Karnofsky Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to accepting donated musical instruments to "put them into the hands of an eager child who could not otherwise take part in a wonderful learning experience."

Armstrong developed his cornet
Cornet
The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B. It is not related to the renaissance and early baroque cornett or cornetto.-History:The cornet was...

 playing seriously in the band of the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs, where he had been sent multiple times for general delinquency, most notably for a long term after firing his stepfather's pistol
Pistol
When distinguished as a subset of handguns, a pistol is a handgun with a chamber that is integral with the barrel, as opposed to a revolver, wherein the chamber is separate from the barrel as a revolving cylinder. Typically, pistols have an effective range of about 100 feet.-History:The pistol...

 into the air at a New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is observed annually on December 31, the final day of any given year in the Gregorian calendar. In modern societies, New Year's Eve is often celebrated at social gatherings, during which participants dance, eat, consume alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the...

 celebration, as police records confirm. Professor Peter Davis (who frequently appeared at the Home at the request of its administrator, Captain Joseph Jones) instilled discipline in and provided musical training to the otherwise self-taught Armstrong. Eventually, Davis made Armstrong the band leader. The Home band played around New Orleans and the thirteen year old Louis began to draw attention by his cornet playing, starting him on a musical career. At fourteen he was released from the Home, living again with his father and new stepmother and then back with his mother and also back to the streets and their temptations. Armstrong got his first dance hall job at Henry Ponce’s where Black Benny
Black Benny
Black Benny Williams was a New Orleans-based bass drummer of legendary status who played in brass bands in the early decades of the 20th century. Black Benny was recalled by many New Orleans musicians of the era, but left no recordings....

 became his protector and guide. He hauled coal by day and played his cornet at night.

He played in the city's frequent brass band
Brass band
A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and woodwind instruments can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands , but are usually more correctly termed military bands, concert...

 parades and listened to older musicians every chance he got, learning from Bunk Johnson
Bunk Johnson
Willie Gary "Bunk" Johnson was a prominent early New Orleans jazz trumpet player in the early years of the 20th century who enjoyed a revived career in the 1940s....

, Buddy Petit, Kid Ory
Kid Ory
Edward "Kid" Ory was a jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born in Woodland Plantation near LaPlace, Louisiana.-Biography:...

, and above all, Joe "King" Oliver, who acted as a mentor
Mentor
In Greek mythology, Mentor was the son of Alcimus or Anchialus. In his old age Mentor was a friend of Odysseus who placed Mentor and Odysseus' foster-brother Eumaeus in charge of his son Telemachus, and of Odysseus' palace, when Odysseus left for the Trojan War.When Athena visited Telemachus she...

 and father figure
Father Figure
"Father Figure" is the U.S. number-one song written and performed by George Michael and released on Columbia Records in 1988 as the third single from the album Faith.-History:...

 to the young musician. Later, he played in the brass bands and riverboat
Riverboat
A riverboat is a ship built boat designed for inland navigation on lakes, rivers, and artificial waterways. They are generally equipped and outfitted as work boats in one of the carrying trades, for freight or people transport, including luxury units constructed for entertainment enterprises, such...

s of New Orleans, and began traveling with the well-regarded band of Fate Marable
Fate Marable
Fate Marable was a jazz pianist and bandleader.Marable was born in Paducah, Kentucky, and learned piano from his mother. At age 17, he began playing on the steam boats plying the Mississippi River...

, which toured on a steamboat
Steamboat
A steamboat or steamship, sometimes called a steamer, is a ship in which the primary method of propulsion is steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels...

 up and down the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. He described his time with Marable as, "going to the University
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

," since it gave him a much wider experience working with written arrangement
Arrangement
The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents...

s.

In 1919, Joe Oliver decided to go north and resigned his position in Kid Ory
Kid Ory
Edward "Kid" Ory was a jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born in Woodland Plantation near LaPlace, Louisiana.-Biography:...

's band; Armstrong replaced him. He also became second trumpet for the Tuxedo Brass Band, a society band.

Career

On March 19, 1918, Louis married Daisy Parker from Gretna, Louisiana
Gretna, Louisiana
The city of Gretna is the parish seat of Jefferson Parish, in the US state of Louisiana. Gretna is on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleans. It is part of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. They adopted a 3-year-old boy, Clarence Armstrong, whose mother, Louis's cousin Flora, died soon after giving birth. Clarence Armstrong was mentally disabled (the result of a head injury at an early age) and Louis would spend the rest of his life taking care of him. Louis's marriage to Parker failed quickly and they separated. She died shortly after the divorce.

Through all his riverboat experience Armstrong’s musicianship began to mature and expand. At twenty, he could read music and he started to be featured in extended trumpet solos, one of the first jazzmen to do this, injecting his own personality and style into his solo turns. He had learned how to create a unique sound and also started using singing and patter in his performances. In 1922, Armstrong joined the exodus to Chicago, where he had been invited by his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to join his Creole Jazz Band and where he could make a sufficient income so that he no longer needed to supplement his music with day labor jobs. It was a boom time in Chicago and though race relations were poor, the “Windy City” was teeming with jobs for black people, who were making good wages in factories and had plenty to spend on entertainment.

Oliver's band was the best and most influential hot jazz band in Chicago in the early 1920s, at a time when Chicago was the center of the jazz universe. Armstrong lived like a king in Chicago, in his own apartment with his own private bath (his first). Excited as he was to be in Chicago, he began his career-long pastime of writing nostalgic letters to friends in New Orleans. As Armstrong’s reputation grew, he was challenged to “cutting contests” by hornmen trying to displace the new phenom, who could blow two hundred high C’s in a row. Armstrong made his first recordings on the Gennett
Gennett Records
Gennett was a United States based record label which flourished in the 1920s.-Label history:Gennett records was founded in Richmond, Indiana by the Starr Piano Company, and released its first records in October 1917. The company took its name from its top managers: Harry, Fred and Clarence Gennett....

 and Okeh
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

 labels (jazz records were starting to boom across the country), including taking some solos and breaks, while playing second cornet in Oliver's band in 1923. At this time, he met Hoagy Carmichael
Hoagy Carmichael
Howard Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael was an American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. He is best known for writing "Stardust", "Georgia On My Mind", "The Nearness of You", and "Heart and Soul", four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.Alec Wilder, in his study of the...

 (with whom he would collaborate later) who was introduced by friend Bix Beiderbecke
Bix Beiderbecke
Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer.With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz soloists of the 1920s...

, who now had his own Chicago band.

Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis's second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong
Lil Hardin Armstrong
Lil Hardin Armstrong was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader, and the second wife of Louis Armstrong with whom she collaborated on many recordings in the 1920s....

, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. Armstrong took the advice of his wife and left Oliver's band. For a year Armstrong played in Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast...

's band in New York on many recordings. After playing in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago, playing in large orchestras; there he created his most important early recordings. Lil had her husband play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skill and improve his solo play and she prodded him into wearing more stylish attire to make him look sharp and to better offset his growing girth. Lil’s influence eventually undermined Armstrong’s relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional moneys that Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members. Armstrong and Oliver parted amicably in 1924. Shortly afterward, Armstrong received an invitation to go to New York City to play with the Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast...

 Orchestra, the top African-American band of the day. Armstrong switched to the trumpet to blend in better with the other musicians in his section. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax
Tenor saxophone
The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor, with the alto, are the two most common types of saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B, and written as a transposing instrument in the treble...

 soloist, Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Randolph Hawkins was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Hawkins was one of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument. As Joachim E. Berendt explained, "there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn"...

, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period.

Armstrong quickly adapted to the more tightly controlled style of Henderson, playing trumpet and even experimenting with the trombone and the other members quickly took up Armstrong’s emotional, expressive pulse. Soon his act included singing and telling tales of New Orleans characters, especially preachers. The Henderson Orchestra was playing in the best venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom
Roseland Ballroom
The Roseland Ballroom is a multi-purpose hall, in a converted ice skating rink, with a colorful ballroom dancing pedigree, in New York City's theatre district, on West 52nd Street....

, featuring the classy arrangements of Don Redman
Don Redman
Donald Matthew Redman was an American jazz musician, arranger, bandleader and composer.Redman was announced as a member of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame on May 6, 2009....

. Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

’s orchestra would go to Roseland to catch Armstrong’s performances and young hornmen around town tried in vain to outplay him, splitting their lips in their attempts.

During this time, Armstrong made many recordings on the side, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams; these included small jazz band sides with the Williams Blue Five (some of the best pairing Armstrong with one of Armstrong's few rivals in fiery technique and ideas, Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer.He was one of the first important soloists in jazz , and was perhaps the first notable jazz saxophonist...

) and a series of accompaniments with blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 singers, including Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

, Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues....

, and Alberta Hunter
Alberta Hunter
Alberta Hunter was an American blues singer, songwriter, and nurse. Her career had started back in the early 1920s, and from there on, she became a successful jazz and blues recording artist, being critically acclaimed to the ranks of Ethel Waters and Bessie Smith...

.

Armstrong returned to Chicago in 1925 due mostly to the urging of his wife, who wanted to pump up Armstrong’s career and income. He was content in New York but later would concede that she was right and that the Henderson Orchestra was limiting his artistic growth. In publicity, much to his chagrin, she billed him as “the World’s Greatest Trumpet Player”. At first he was actually a member of the Lil Hardin Armstrong Band and working for his wife. He began recording under his own name for Okeh with his famous Hot Five
Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
The Hot Five was Louis Armstrong's first jazz recording band led under his own name.It was a typical New Orleans jazz band in instrumentation, consisting of trumpet, clarinet, and trombone backed by a rhythm section...

 and Hot Seven
Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven
Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven was a jazz studio group organized to make a series of recordings for Okeh Records in Chicago, Illinois in May 1927. Some of the personnel also recorded with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, including Johnny Dodds , Lil Armstrong , Johnny St. Cyr...

 groups, producing hits such as "Potato Head Blues
Potato Head Blues
"Potato Head Blues" is a Louis Armstrong composition regarded as one of his finest recordings. It was made by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven for Okeh Records in Chicago, Illinois on May 10, 1927...

", "Muggles
Muggles (recording)
"Muggles" is the title of a recording by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra, recorded in Chicago on December 7, 1928. The title refers to the use of the word "muggles" as a slang term for marijuana amongst jazz musicians of the 1920s and 1930s...

", (a reference to marijuana
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

, for which Armstrong had a lifelong fondness), and "West End Blues
West End Blues
"West End Blues" is a multi-strain 12 bar blues composition by Joe "King" Oliver. It is most commonly performed as an instrumental, although it has lyrics added by Clarence Williams....

", the music of which set the standard and the agenda for jazz for many years to come.

The group included Kid Ory
Kid Ory
Edward "Kid" Ory was a jazz trombonist and bandleader. He was born in Woodland Plantation near LaPlace, Louisiana.-Biography:...

 (trombone), Johnny Dodds
Johnny Dodds
Johnny Dodds was an American New Orleans based jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist, best known for his recordings under his own name and with bands such as those of Joe "King" Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Lovie Austin and Louis Armstrong. Dodds was also the older brother of drummer Warren "Baby"...

 (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr
Johnny St. Cyr
Johnny St. Cyr was an American jazz banjoist and guitarist.St. Cyr was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is most commonly remembered as a member of Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven bands....

 (banjo), wife Lil on piano, and usually no drummer. Armstrong’s bandleading style was easygoing, as St. Cyr noted, "One felt so relaxed working with him and he was very broad-minded ... always did his best to feature each individual." His recordings soon after with pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

 (most famously their 1928 Weatherbird duet) and Armstrong's trumpet introduction to "West End Blues" remain some of the most famous and influential improvisations in jazz history. Armstrong was now free to develop his personal style as he wished, which included a heavy dose of effervescent jive, such as "whip that thing, Miss Lil" and "Mr. Johnny Dodds, Aw, do that clarinet, boy!"

Armstrong also played with Erskine Tate
Erskine Tate
Erskine Tate was an American jazz violinist and bandleader.Tate moved to Chicago in 1912 and was an early figure on the Chicago jazz scene, playing with his band, the Vendome Orchestra, at the Vendome Theater, which was located at 31st and State Street...

’s Little Symphony, actually a quintet, which played mostly at the Vendome Theatre. They furnished music for silent movies and live shows, including jazz versions of classical music, such as “Madame Butterfly,” which gave Armstrong experience with longer forms of music and with hosting before a large audience. He began to scat sing (improvised vocal jazz using non-sensical words) and was among the first to record it, on "Heebie Jeebies
Heebie Jeebies (composition)
"Heebie Jeebies" is a composition written by Boyd Atkins which achieved fame when it was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1926. The recording on Okeh Records by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five includes a famous chorus in which Louis does scat singing....

" in 1926. So popular was the recording the group became the most famous jazz band in the USA even though they as yet had not performed live to any great degree. Young musicians across the country, black or white, were turned on by Armstrong’s new type of jazz.

After separating from Lil, Armstrong started to play at the Sunset Café
Sunset Cafe
The Sunset Cafe was a jazz club in Chicago, Illinois operating during the 1920s and 1930s. It was one of the most important American jazz clubs, especially around the period between 1917 and 1928 when Chicago became a creative capital of Jazz innovation...

 for Al Capone's
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

 associate Joe Glaser in the Carroll Dickerson
Carroll Dickerson
Carroll Dickerson was a Chicago and New York-based dixieland jazz violinist and bandleader, probably better known for his extensive work with Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines or his more brief work touring with King Oliver....

 Orchestra, with Earl Hines on piano, which was soon renamed Louis Armstrong and his Stompers, though Hines was the music director and Glaser managed the orchestra. Hines and Armstrong became fast friends as well as successful collaborators.

Armstrong returned to New York, in 1929, where he played in the pit orchestra of the successful musical Hot Chocolate, an all-black revue written by Andy Razaf and pianist/composer Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller , born Thomas Wright Waller, was a jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer...

. He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of "Ain't Misbehavin'
Ain't Misbehavin' (song)
"Ain't Misbehavin" is a 1929 song written by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf . Waller recorded the original version that year for Victor Records and also later performed the song in the 1943 film Stormy Weather. It was used in the off-broadway musical Connie's Hot Chocolates...

", his version of the song becoming his biggest selling record to date.

Armstrong started to work at Connie's Inn
Connie's Inn
Connie's Inn was a Harlem, New York City nightclub established in 1923 by Connie Immerman, a white bootlegger. It was located in the basement at 2221 Seventh Avenue at 131st Street....

 in Harlem, chief rival to the Cotton Club
Cotton Club
The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem, New York City that operated during Prohibition that included jazz music. While the club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Count Basie, Bessie Smith,...

, a venue for elaborately staged floor shows, and a front for gangster Dutch Schultz
Dutch Schultz
Dutch Schultz was a New York City-area Jewish American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in organized crime-related activities such as bootlegging alcohol and the numbers racket...

. Armstrong also had considerable success with vocal recordings, including versions of famous songs composed by his old friend Hoagy Carmichael
Hoagy Carmichael
Howard Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael was an American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. He is best known for writing "Stardust", "Georgia On My Mind", "The Nearness of You", and "Heart and Soul", four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.Alec Wilder, in his study of the...

. His 1930s recordings took full advantage of the new RCA ribbon microphone
Ribbon microphone
A ribbon microphone is a type of dynamic microphone that uses a thin aluminum, duraluminum or nanofilm ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet to generate voltages by electromagnetic induction...

, introduced in 1931, which imparted a characteristic warmth to vocals and immediately became an intrinsic part of the 'crooning' sound of artists like Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

. Armstrong's famous interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust
Stardust (song)
"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Originally titled "Star Dust", Carmichael first recorded the song at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana...

" became one of the most successful versions of this song ever recorded, showcasing Armstrong's unique vocal sound and style and his innovative approach to singing songs that had already become standards.

Armstrong's radical re-working of Sidney Arodin
Sidney Arodin
Sidney Arnandan or Arnondrin, better known as Sidney Arodin was an American jazz clarinetist and songwriter, best known for co-writing the pop standard "Lazy River" with Hoagy Carmichael.Arodin began playing clarinet at age 15 and played at local New Orleans gatherings and on riverboats...

 and Carmichael's "Lazy River
Lazy river
A lazy river is a water ride found in many amusement parks or water parks. They are also found at some resorts and recreation centers. It usually consists of shallow pool that flows similarly to a river....

" (recorded in 1931) encapsulated many features of his groundbreaking approach to melody and phrasing. The song begins with a brief trumpet solo, then the main melody is stated by sobbing horns, memorably punctuated by Armstrong's growling interjections at the end of each bar: "Yeah! ..."Uh-huh" ..."Sure" ... "Way down, way down." In the first verse, he ignores the notated melody entirely and sings as if playing a trumpet solo, pitching most of the first line on a single note and using strongly syncopated phrasing. In the second stanza he breaks into an almost fully improvised melody, which then evolves into a classic passage of Armstrong "scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

".

As with his trumpet playing, Armstrong's vocal innovations served as a foundation stone for the art of jazz vocal interpretation. The uniquely gritty coloration of his voice became a musical archetype
Archetype
An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

 that was much imitated and endlessly impersonated. His scat singing style was enriched by his matchless experience as a trumpet soloist. His resonant, velvety lower-register tone and bubbling cadences on sides such as "Lazy River" exerted a huge influence on younger white singers such as Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

.

The Depression of the early Thirties was especially hard on the jazz scene. The Cotton Club closed in 1936 after a long downward spiral and many musicians stopped playing altogether as club dates evaporated. Bix Beiderbecke died and Fletcher Henderson’s band broke up. King Oliver made a few records but otherwise struggled. Sidney Bechet became a tailor and Kid Ory returned to New Orleans and raised chickens. Armstrong moved to Los Angeles in 1930 to seek new opportunities. He played at the New Cotton Club in LA with Lionel Hampton
Lionel Hampton
Lionel Leo Hampton was an American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, percussionist, bandleader and actor. Like Red Norvo, he was one of the first jazz vibraphone players. Hampton ranks among the great names in jazz history, having worked with a who's who of jazz musicians, from Benny Goodman and Buddy...

 on drums. The band drew the Hollywood crowd, which could still afford a lavish night life, while radio broadcasts from the club connected with younger audiences at home. Bing Crosby and many other celebrities were regulars at the club. In 1931, Armstrong appeared in his first movie, Ex-Flame. Armstrong was convicted of marijuana possession but received a suspended sentence. He returned to Chicago in late 1931 and played in bands more in the Guy Lombardo
Guy Lombardo
Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist.Forming "The Royal Canadians" in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success, billing themselves as creating "The Sweetest...

 vein and he recorded more standards. When the mob insisted that he get out of town, Armstrong visited New Orleans, got a hero’s welcome and saw old friends. He sponsored a local baseball team known as “Armstrong’s Secret Nine” and got a cigar named after himself. But soon he was on the road again and after a tour across the country shadowed by the mob, Armstrong decided to go to Europe to escape.

After returning to the States, he undertook several exhausting tours. His agent Johnny Collins’ erratic behavior and his own spending ways left Armstrong short of cash. Breach of contract violations plagued him. Finally, he hired Joe Glaser as his new manager, a tough mob-connected wheeler-dealer, who began to straighten out his legal mess, his mob troubles, and his debts. Armstrong also began to experience problems with his fingers and lips, which were aggravated by his unorthodox playing style. As a result he branched out, developing his vocal style and making his first theatrical appearances. He appeared in movies again, including Crosby's 1936 hit Pennies from Heaven
Pennies from Heaven (1936 film)
Pennies from Heaven is a 1936 musical comedy film starring Bing Crosby and featuring Louis Armstrong in a supporting role. The movie was directed by Norman Z. McLeod and the screenplay was written by Jo Swerling from a story by William Rankin based on the novel The Peacock Feather by Katherine...

. In 1937, Armstrong substituted for Rudy Vallee
Rudy Vallée
Rudy Vallée was an American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer.-Early life:Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, the son of Charles Alphonse and Catherine Lynch Vallée...

 on the CBS radio network and became the first African American to host a sponsored, national broadcast. He finally divorced Lil in 1938 and married longtime girlfriend Alpha.

After spending many years on the road, Armstrong settled permanently in Queens, New York in 1943 in contentment with his fourth wife, Lucille. Although subject to the vicissitudes of Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

 and the gangster
Gangster
A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster....

-ridden music business, as well as anti-black prejudice, he continued to develop his playing. He recorded Hoagy Carmichael's Rockin' Chair for Okeh Records
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

.

During the subsequent thirty years, Armstrong played more than three hundred gigs a year. Bookings for big bands tapered off during the 1940s due to changes in public tastes: ballrooms closed, and there was competition from television and from other types of music becoming more popular than big band music. It became impossible under such circumstances to support and finance a 16-piece touring band.

The All Stars

Following a highly successful small-group jazz concert at New York Town Hall on May 17, 1947, featuring Armstrong with trombonist/singer Jack Teagarden
Jack Teagarden
Weldon Leo "Jack" Teagarden , known as "Big T" and "The Swingin' Gate", was an influential jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, regarded as the "Father of Jazz Trombone".-Early life:...

, Armstrong's manager Joe Glaser dissolved the Armstrong big band on August 13, 1947 and established a six-piece small group featuring Armstrong with (initially) Teagarden, Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

 and other top swing and dixieland musicians, most of them ex-big band leaders. The new group was announced at the opening of Billy Berg's Supper Club.

This group was called Louis Armstrong and his All Stars and included at various times Earl "Fatha" Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

, Barney Bigard
Barney Bigard
Albany Leon Bigard, aka Barney Bigard, was an American jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist, though primarily known for the clarinet....

, Edmond Hall
Edmond Hall
Edmond Hall was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader. His father Edward Blainey Hall and mother Caroline Duhe had eight children, Priscilla , Moretta , Viola , Robert , Edmond , Clarence , Edward and Herbert .-Early life:Born in Reserve, Louisiana, about...

, Jack Teagarden
Jack Teagarden
Weldon Leo "Jack" Teagarden , known as "Big T" and "The Swingin' Gate", was an influential jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, regarded as the "Father of Jazz Trombone".-Early life:...

, Trummy Young
Trummy Young
James "Trummy" Young was a trombonist in the swing era. Although he was never really a star or a bandleader himself, he did have one hit with his version of "Margie," which he played and sang with Jimmie Lunceford's Time-Life Orchestra.-Biography:Growing up in Savannah, GA and Richmond, VA, Young...

, Arvell Shaw
Arvell Shaw
Arvell Shaw was an American jazz double-bassist, best known for his work with Louis Armstrong....

, Billy Kyle
Billy Kyle
William Osborne "Billy" Kyle was an American jazz pianist.-Biography:Kyle was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began playing the piano in school and by the early 1930s worked with Lucky Millinder, and later the Mills Blue Rhythm Band. In 1938, he joined John Kirby's band, but was drafted in...

, Marty Napoleon
Marty Napoleon
Marty Napoleon is an American jazz pianist born in Brooklyn, New York, perhaps best known for having replaced Earl Hines in Louis Armstrong's All Stars in 1952. In 1946 he worked with Gene Krupa and went on to work with his uncle Phil Napoleon, a trumpeter, in Phil's Original Memphis Five...

, Big Sid Catlett
Sid Catlett
Sidney Catlett , was a swinging jazz drummer often referred to as "Big Sid Catlett" because of his large frame.-Biography:...

, Cozy Cole
Cozy Cole
Cozy Cole was an American jazz drummer who scored a #1 Cashbox magazine hit with the record "Topsy Part 2". "Topsy" peaked at number three on Billboard Hot 100, and at number one on the R&B chart. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The track peaked at #29 in the UK...

, Tyree Glenn
Tyree Glenn
Evan Tyree Glenn was an American trombone player.-Biography:...

, Barrett Deems
Barrett Deems
Barrett Deems was an American swing music jazz drummer born in Springfield, Illinois, probably best known for his work with jazz musicians Jimmy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong , Red Norvo, and Muggsy Spanier.Deems died of pneumonia in Chicago, in September 1998, at the age...

, Joe Darensbourg
Joe Darensbourg
Joe Darensbourg was an American New Orleans based jazz clarinetist and saxophonist notable for his work with Buddy Petit, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Creath, Fate Marable, Andy Kirk, Johnny Wittwer, Kid Ory, Wingy Manone, Joe Liggins and Louis Armstrong.-Discography:* The New Orleans Statesman*...

 and the Filipino-American percussionist, Danny Barcelona
Danny Barcelona
Danny Barcelona was an international jazz-band drummer for Louis Armstrong's All-Stars band. He was a Filipino-American born in Waipahu a community of sugar cane plantation families East of Honolulu, Hawaii...

. During this period, Armstrong made many recordings and appeared in over thirty films. He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time Magazine on February 21, 1949.

In 1964, he recorded his biggest-selling record, "Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (song)
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001....

" The song went to #1 on the pop chart, making Armstrong (age 63) the oldest person to ever accomplish that feat. In the process, Armstrong dislodged The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 from the #1 position they had occupied for 14 consecutive weeks with three different songs.

Armstrong kept up his busy tour schedule until a few years before his death in 1971. In his later years he would sometimes play some of his numerous gigs
Concert
A concert is a live performance before an audience. The performance may be by a single musician, sometimes then called a recital, or by a musical ensemble, such as an orchestra, a choir, or a musical band...

 by rote, but other times would enliven the most mundane gig with his vigorous playing, often to the astonishment of his band. He also toured Africa, Europe, and Asia under sponsorship of the US State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 with great success, earning the nickname "Ambassador Satch." While failing health restricted his schedule in his last years, within those limitations he continued playing until the day he died.

Death

Armstrong died of a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

 in his sleep on July 6, 1971, a month before his 70th birthday, and 11 months after playing a famous show at the Waldorf-Astoria's Empire Room. He was residing in Corona
Corona, Queens
Corona is a densely-populated neighborhood in the former Township of Newtown in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York, United States...

, Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, New York City, at the time of his death. He was interred in Flushing Cemetery
Flushing Cemetery
Flushing Cemetery is a cemetery in Flushing in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York.The cemetery is the final resting place for:*Louis Armstrong, renowned musician and singer*Bernard Baruch, financier, after whom Baruch College is named...

, Flushing
Flushing, Queens
Flushing, founded in 1645, is a neighborhood in the north central part of the City of New York borough of Queens, east of Manhattan.Flushing was one of the first Dutch settlements on Long Island. Today, it is one of the largest and most diverse neighborhoods in New York City...

, in Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, New York City.

His honorary pallbearers included Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

, Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald , also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist...

, Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer dubbed "the sound of surprise".Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz...

, Pearl Bailey
Pearl Bailey
Pearl Mae Bailey was an American actress and singer. After appearing in vaudeville, she made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. She won a Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello, Dolly! in 1968...

, Count Basie
Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

, Harry James
Harry James
Henry Haag “Harry” James was a trumpeter who led a jazz swing band during the Big Band Era of the 1930s and 1940s. He was especially known among musicians for his astonishing technical proficiency as well as his superior tone.-Biography:He was born in Albany, Georgia, the son of a bandleader of a...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Ed Sullivan
Ed Sullivan
Edward Vincent "Ed" Sullivan was an American entertainment writer and television host, best known as the presenter of the TV variety show The Ed Sullivan Show. The show was broadcast from 1948 to 1971 , which made it one of the longest-running variety shows in U.S...

, Earl Wilson
Earl Wilson (columnist)
Earl Wilson , born Harvey Earl Wilson, was an American journalist, gossip columnist and author, perhaps best known for his nationally syndicated column, It Happened Last Night....

, Alan King
Alan King (comedian)
Alan King was an American actor and comedian known for his biting wit and often angry humorous rants. King became well known as a Jewish comedian and satirist. He was also a serious actor who appeared in a number of movies and television shows. King wrote several books, produced films, and...

, Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson
John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years . Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987...

 and David Frost
David Frost
Sir David Frost is a British broadcaster.David Frost may also refer to:*David Frost , South African golfer*David Frost , classical record producer*David Frost *Dave Frost, baseball pitcher...

. Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and...

 sang The Lord's Prayer at the services while Al Hibbler
Al Hibbler
Albert George "Al" Hibbler was an American baritone vocalist, who sang with Duke Ellington's orchestra before having several pop hits as a solo artist. Some of his singing is classified as rhythm and blues, but he is best classified as a bridge between R&B and traditional pop music...

 sang "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen is a spiritual. The song is well known and many cover versions of it have been produced, although the rendition by Louis Armstrong is the best known. Marian Anderson had her first successful recording with a version of this song on the Victor label in 1925. Lena...

" and Fred Robbins, a long-time friend, gave the eulogy.

Personality

Armstrong was a colorful character. His own biography vexes biographers and historians, because he had a habit of telling tales, particularly of his early childhood, when he was less scrutinized, and his embellishments of his history often lack consistency.

He was not only an entertainer. Armstrong was a leading personality of the day who was so beloved by a white-controlled America that gave even the greatest African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 performers little access beyond their public celebrity, that he was able to live privately a life of access and privilege accorded to few other African Americans.

He tried to remain politically neutral, which gave him a large part of that access, but often alienated him from members of the African-American community who looked to him to use his prominence with white America to become more of an outspoken figure during the Civil Rights Era of U.S. history.

Nicknames

The nicknames Satchmo and Satch are short for Satchelmouth. Like many things in Armstrong's life, which was filled with colorful stories both real and imagined, many of his own telling, the nickname has many possible origins.

The most common tale that biographers tell is the story of Armstrong as a young boy dancing for pennies in the streets of New Orleans, who would scoop up the coins off of the streets and stick them into his mouth to avoid having the bigger children steal them from him. Someone dubbed him "satchel mouth" for his mouth acting as a satchel
Satchel (bag)
A satchel is a bag, often with a strap. The strap is often worn so that it diagonally crosses the body, with the bag hanging on the opposite hip, rather than hanging directly down from the shoulder. They are tradionally used for carrying books....

.

Early on he was also known as Dipper, short for Dippermouth, a reference to the piece Dippermouth Blues. and something of a riff on his unusual embouchure
Embouchure
The embouchure is the use of facial muscles and the shaping of the lips to the mouthpiece of woodwind instruments or the mouthpiece of the brass instruments.The word is of French origin and is related to the root bouche , 'mouth'....

.

Armstrong and race

Armstrong was largely accepted into white society, both on stage and off, a privilege reserved for very few African-American public figures, and usually those of either exceptional talent and fair skin-tone. As his fame grew, so did his access to the finer things in life usually denied to a black man, even a famous one. His renown was such that he dined in the best restaurants and stayed in hotels usually exclusively for whites.

It was a power and privilege that he enjoyed, although he was very careful not to flaunt it with fellow performers of color, and privately, he shared what access that he could with friends and fellow musicians.

That still did not prevent members of the African-American community, particularly in the late 1950s to the early 1970s, from calling him an Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom is a derogatory term for a person who perceives themselves to be of low status, and is excessively subservient to perceived authority figures; particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people....

, a black-on-black racial epithet for someone who kowtowed to white society at the expense of their own racial identity.

He was criticized for accepting the title of "King of The Zulus
Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club
The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club is a Carnival Krewe in New Orleans, Louisiana which puts on the Zulu parade each Mardi Gras Day. Zulu is New Orleans' largest predominantly African American carnival organization known for its blackfaced krewe members wearing grass skirts and its unique throw...

" for Mardi Gras
New Orleans Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a Carnival celebration well-known throughout the world.The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany . It is a season of parades, balls , and king cake parties...

 in 1949. In the New Orleans African-American community it is an honored role as the head of leading black Carnival Krewe
Krewe
A krewe is an organization that puts on a parade and or a ball for the Carnival season. The term is best known for its association with New Orleans Mardi Gras, but is also used in other Carnival celebrations around the Gulf of Mexico, such as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, Florida, and...

, but bewildering or offensive to outsiders with their traditional costume of grass-skirts and blackface
Blackface
Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville, in which performers create a stereotyped caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the proliferation of stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky...

 makeup satirizing southern white attitudes.

Some musicians criticized Armstrong for playing in front of segregated audiences, and for not taking a strong enough stand in the civil rights movement.

Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

 countered, however, "Of course Pops toms, but he toms from the heart."

The few exceptions made it more effective when he did speak out. Armstrong's criticism of President Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, calling him "two-faced" and "gutless" because of his inaction during the conflict
Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine was a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The ensuing Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, and then...

 over school desegregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

 in Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 699,757 people in the 2010 census...

 in 1957 made national news.

As a protest, Armstrong canceled a planned tour of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on behalf of the State Department saying "The way they're treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell" and that he could not represent his government abroad when it was in conflict with its own people. Six days after Armstrong's comments, Eisenhower ordered Federal troops to Little Rock to escort students into the school.

The FBI kept a file on Armstrong, for his outspokenness about integration.

Religion

When asked about his religion, Armstrong would answer that he was raised a Baptist
Baptist
Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

, always wore a Star of David
Star of David
The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David or Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism.Its shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles...

, and was friends with the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. Armstrong wore the Star of David in honor of the Karnofsky family, who took him in as a child and lent him the money to buy his first cornet. Louis Armstrong was, in fact, baptized as a Catholic at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in New Orleans, and he met popes Pius XII and Paul VI, though there is no evidence that he considered himself Catholic. Armstrong seems to have been tolerant towards various religions, but also found humor in them.

Purging

Armstrong was also greatly concerned with his health and bodily functions. He made frequent use of laxatives as a means of controlling his weight, a practice he advocated both to personal acquaintances and in the diet plans he published under the title Lose Weight the Satchmo Way. Armstrong's laxative of preference in his younger days was Pluto Water
Pluto Water
Pluto Water was a trademark for a strongly laxative natural water product which was very popular in the United States in the early 20th century. The water's high native content of mineral salts generally made it effective within one hour of ingestion, a fact the company played up in their...

, but he then became an enthusiastic convert when he discovered the herbal remedy Swiss Kriss. He would extol its virtues to anyone who would listen and pass out packets to everyone he encountered, including members of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

. (Armstrong also appeared in humorous, albeit risqué, cards that he had printed to send out to friends; the cards bore a picture of him sitting on a toilet—as viewed through a keyhole—with the slogan "Satch says, 'Leave it all behind ya!") The cards have sometimes been incorrectly described as ads for Swiss Kriss.

In a live recording of "Baby, It's Cold Outside
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Baby, It's Cold Outside may refer to:*"Baby, It's Cold Outside", a 1948 song by Frank Loesser*"Cold Outside", a song by country music band Big House from their self-titled debut album*"Baby, It's Cold Outside", a 1991 short story by Isaac Asimov...

" with Velma Middleton
Velma Middleton
Velma Middleton was an American jazz vocalist born in Holdenville, OK, best known for having sung with Louis Armstrong's big bands and small groups. Born in Oklahoma, Velma later moved with her parents to St. Louis, MO...

, he changes the lyric from "Put another record on while I pour" to "Take some Swiss Kriss while I pour." The line, slightly garbled in the live recording, could just as likely be "Take some Swiss Miss
Swiss Miss
Swiss Miss is a brand name for cocoa powder and pudding products sold by American food company, ConAgra Foods, Inc. Created with a blend of "dark European cocoa", Swiss Miss is a well-established brand of instant hot chocolate in America...

 while I pour"—Swiss Miss is a hot chocolate mix that would have been fairly new on the market in 1951. (The line comes at 1:04 in the song.)

Love of food

The concern with his health and weight was balanced by his love of food, reflected in such songs as "Cheesecake", "Cornet Chop Suey," though "Struttin’ with Some Barbecue" was written about a fine-looking companion, not about food. He kept a strong connection throughout his life to the cooking of New Orleans
Louisiana Creole cuisine
Louisiana Creole cuisine is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana which blends French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Asian Indian, Native American, and African influences, as well as general Southern cuisine...

, always signing his letters, "Red beans and ricely yours..."

Writings

Armstrong’s gregariousness extended to writing. On the road, he wrote constantly, sharing favorite themes of his life with correspondents around the world. He avidly typed or wrote on whatever stationery was at hand, recording instant takes on music, sex, food, childhood memories, his heavy “medicinal” marijuana use—and even his bowel movements, which he gleefully described. He had a fondness for lewd jokes and dirty limericks as well.

Social organizations

Louis Armstrong was not, as is often claimed, a Freemason. Although he is usually listed as being a member of Montgomery Lodge No. 18 (Prince Hall) in New York, no such lodge has ever existed. Armstrong states in his autobiography, however, that he was a member of the Knights of Pythias
Knights of Pythias
The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization and secret society founded at Washington, DC, on 19 February 1864.The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress. It was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, who had been...

, which is not a Masonic group.

Horn playing and early jazz

In his early years, Armstrong was best known for his virtuosity with the cornet and trumpet. The greatest trumpet playing of his early years can be heard on his Hot Five and Hot Seven records, as well as the Red Onion Jazz Babies
Red Onion Jazz Babies
The Red Onion Jazz Babies was an early supergroup of the Jazz Age. Among its members were Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Lil Hardin and others in the early 1920s. As it comprised some of the most influential soloists and performers of the era, the group was significant in highlighting the early...

. The improvisations he made on these records of New Orleans jazz standards and popular songs of the day are unsurpassed by later jazz performers. The older generation of New Orleans jazz musicians often referred to their improvisations as "variating the melody." Armstrong's improvisations were daring and sophisticated for the time, while often subtle and melodic.

He often essentially re-composed pop-tunes he played, making them more interesting. Armstrong's playing is filled with joyous, inspired original melodies, creative leaps, and subtle relaxed or driving rhythms. The genius of these creative passages is matched by Armstrong's playing technique, honed by constant practice, which extended the range, tone and capabilities of the trumpet. In these records, Armstrong almost single-handedly created the role of the jazz soloist, taking what was essentially a collective folk music and turning it into an art form with tremendous possibilities for individual expression.

Armstrong's work in the 1920s shows him playing at the outer limits of his abilities. The Hot Five records, especially, often have minor flubs and missed notes, which do little to detract from listening enjoyment since the energy of the spontaneous performance comes through. By the mid 1930s, Armstrong achieved a smooth assurance, knowing exactly what he could do and carrying out his ideas to perfection.

He was one of the first artists to use recordings of his performances to improve himself. Armstrong was an avid audiophile. He had a large collection of recordings, including reel-to-reel tapes, which he took on the road with him in a trunk during his later career. He enjoyed listening to his own recordings, and comparing his performances musically. In the den of his home, he had the latest audio equipment and would sometimes rehearse and record along with his older recordings or the radio.

Vocal popularity

As his music progressed and popularity grew, his singing also became very important. Armstrong was not the first to record scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

, but he was masterful at it and helped popularize it. He had a hit with his playing and scat singing on "Heebie Jeebies
Heebie Jeebies (composition)
"Heebie Jeebies" is a composition written by Boyd Atkins which achieved fame when it was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1926. The recording on Okeh Records by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five includes a famous chorus in which Louis does scat singing....

" when, according to some legends, the sheet music fell on the floor and he simply started singing nonsense syllables. Armstrong stated in his memoirs that this actually occurred. He also sang out "I done forgot the words" in the middle of recording "I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas."

Such records were hits and scat singing became a major part of his performances. Long before this, however, Armstrong was playing around with his vocals, shortening and lengthening phrases, interjecting improvisations, using his voice as creatively as his trumpet.

Colleagues and followers

During his long career he played and sang with some of the most important instrumentalists and vocalists of the time; among them were Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

, Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

, Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast...

, Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

, the singing brakeman
Brakeman
A brakeman is a rail transport worker whose original job it was to assist the braking of a train by applying brakes on individual wagons. The advent of through brakes on trains made this role redundant, although the name lives on in the United States where brakemen carry out a variety of functions...

 Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

, Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

 and perhaps most famously Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald , also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist...

.

His influence upon Bing Crosby is particularly important with regard to the subsequent development of popular music: Crosby admired and copied Armstrong, as is evident on many of his early recordings, notably "Just One More Chance" (1931). The New Grove Dictionary Of Jazz describes Crosby's debt to Armstrong in precise detail, although it does not acknowledge Armstrong by name:
Armstrong recorded three albums with Ella Fitzgerald: Ella and Louis
Ella and Louis
Ella and Louis is a 1956 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, accompanied by the Oscar Peterson Quartet. Having previously collaborated in the late 1940s for the Decca label, this was the first of three albums that Fitzgerald and Armstrong were to record together for Verve Records.-...

, Ella and Louis Again
Ella and Louis Again
Ella and Louis Again is a 1957 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. It is the "sequel" to their 1956 album, Ella and Louis, in contrast to their previous collaboration Ella and Louis, this album does not only feature duets...

, and Porgy and Bess for Verve Records
Verve Records
Verve Records is an American jazz record label now owned by Universal Music Group. It was founded by Norman Granz in 1956, absorbing the catalogues of his earlier labels, Clef Records and Norgran Records , and material which had been licensed to Mercury previously.-Jazz and folk origins:The Verve...

, with the sessions featuring the backing musicianship of the Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the "Maharaja of the keyboard" by Duke Ellington, "O.P." by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career...

 Trio and drummer Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Bernard "Buddy" Rich was an American jazz drummer and bandleader. Rich was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" and was known for his virtuosic technique, power, groove, and speed.-Early life:...

. His recordings Satch Plays Fats, all Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller , born Thomas Wright Waller, was a jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer...

 tunes, and Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy is a 1954 studio release by Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, described by Allmusic as "Louis Armstrong's finest record of the 1950s" and "essential music for all serious jazz collections"...

 in the 1950s were perhaps among the last of his great creative recordings, but even oddities like Disney Songs the Satchmo Way are seen to have their musical moments. And, his participation in Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
David Warren "Dave" Brubeck is an American jazz pianist. He has written a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranges from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills...

's high-concept jazz musical The Real Ambassadors
The Real Ambassadors
The Real Ambassadors is a jazz musical developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Dave and Iola Brubeck, in collaboration with Louis Armstrong and his band. It addressed the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the music business, America’s place in the world during the Cold War, the nature of God, and...

 was critically acclaimed. For the most part, however, his later output was criticized as being overly simplistic or repetitive.

Hits and later career

Armstrong had many hit records including "Stardust
Stardust (song)
"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Originally titled "Star Dust", Carmichael first recorded the song at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana...

", "What a Wonderful World
What a Wonderful World
"What a Wonderful World" is a song written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world . Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999...

", "When The Saints Go Marching In
When the Saints Go Marching In
"When the Saints Go Marching In", often referred to as "The Saints", is an American gospel hymn that has taken on certain aspects of folk music. The precise origins of the song are not known. Though it originated as a spiritual, today people are more likely to hear it played by a jazz band...

", "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Ain't Misbehavin'
Ain't Misbehavin' (song)
"Ain't Misbehavin" is a 1929 song written by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf . Waller recorded the original version that year for Victor Records and also later performed the song in the 1943 film Stormy Weather. It was used in the off-broadway musical Connie's Hot Chocolates...

", "You Rascal You,"and "Stompin' at the Savoy." "We Have All the Time in the World
We Have All the Time in the World
"We Have All the Time in the World" is a James Bond theme and popular song sung by Louis Armstrong. Its music was composed by John Barry and the lyrics by Hal David. It is a secondary musical theme in 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the title theme being the instrumental "On...

" was featured on the soundtrack of the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (film)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the sixth spy film in the James Bond series, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. Following the decision of Sean Connery to retire from the role after You Only Live Twice, Eon Productions selected an unknown actor and model, George Lazenby...

, and enjoyed renewed popularity in the UK in 1994 when it featured on a Guinness
Guinness
Guinness is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Guinness is directly descended from the porter style that originated in London in the early 18th century and is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost...

 advert. It reached number 3 in the charts on being re-released.

In 1964, Armstrong knocked the Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 off the top of the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play and sales; the tracking-week for sales begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, while the radio play tracking-week runs from Wednesday...

 chart with "Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (song)
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001....

", which gave the 63-year-old performer a U.S. record as the oldest artist to have a number one song. His 1964 song, "Bout Time" was later featured in the film "Bewitched" (2005).

Armstrong performed in Italy at the 1968 Sanremo Music Festival where he sang "Mi Va di Cantare" alongside his friend, the Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

n-born Italian singer Lara Saint Paul
Lara Saint Paul
Silvana Savorelli , professionally known as Lara Saint Paul, is an Italian singer, entertainer, impresario and record producer.-Sanremo Music Festival:...

. In February 1968, he also appeared with Lara Saint Paul on the Italian RAI
RAI
RAI — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane, is the Italian state owned public service broadcaster controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development. Rai is the biggest television company in Italy...

 television channel where he performed "Grassa e Bella," a track he sang in Italian for the Italian market and C.D.I. label.

In 1968, Armstrong scored one last popular hit in the United Kingdom with the highly sentimental pop song "What a Wonderful World
What a Wonderful World
"What a Wonderful World" is a song written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world . Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999...

", which topped the British charts for a month; however, the single did not chart at all in America. The song gained greater currency in the popular consciousness when it was used in the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam
Good Morning, Vietnam is a 1987 American comedy-drama film set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, based on the career of Adrian Cronauer, a disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio Service , who proves hugely popular with the troops serving in South Vietnam, but infuriates his superiors with what they call...

, its subsequent rerelease topping many charts around the world. Armstrong even appeared on the October 28, 1970 Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 Show, where he sang Nat "King" Cole's hit "Rambling Rose
Rambling Rose (1962 song)
"Ramblin' Rose" is a 1962 popular song written by brothers Noel and Joe Sherman and popularized by Nat King Cole. Cole's recording of the song was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 4804. It reached number two on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts and sold over a million copies as a...

" and joined Cash to re-create his performance backing Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmie Rodgers (country singer)
James Charles Rodgers , known as Jimmie Rodgers, was an American country singer in the early 20th century known most widely for his rhythmic yodeling...

 on "Blue Yodel #9
Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel No. 9)
"Blue Yodel #9" is a blues/country song by Jimmie Rodgers which included an unbilled Louis Armstrong on trumpet. The song is set in Memphis at the corner of Beale Street and Main Street, a block from the current location of B.B. King's Blues Club.First recorded on July 16, 1930, it was the ninth...

".

Stylistic range

Armstrong enjoyed many types of music, from blues to the arrangements of Guy Lombardo
Guy Lombardo
Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo was a Canadian-American bandleader and violinist.Forming "The Royal Canadians" in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success, billing themselves as creating "The Sweetest...

, to Latin American folksongs, to classical symphonies and opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

. Armstrong incorporated influences from all these sources into his performances, sometimes to the bewilderment of fans who wanted Armstrong to stay in convenient narrow categories. Armstrong was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 as an early influence. Some of his solos from the 1950s, such as the hard rocking
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 version of "St. Louis Blues" from the WC Handy album, show that the influence went in both directions.

Literature, radio, films and TV

Armstrong appeared in more than a dozen Hollywood films, usually playing a band leader or musician. His most familiar role was as the bandleader cum narrator in the 1956 musical
Musical film
The musical film is a film genre in which songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance the plot or develop the film's characters, though in some cases they serve merely as breaks in the storyline, often as elaborate...

, High Society, in which he sang the title song and performed a duet with Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 on "Now You Has Jazz
Now You Has Jazz
"Now You Has Jazz" is a song written by Cole Porter for the 1956 film High Society, where it was introduced by Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.-Notable recordings:*Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong - High Society...

". In 1947, he played himself in the movie New Orleans
New Orleans (1947 film)
New Orleans is a 1947 musical drama featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader; supporting players Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple becoming romantically involved...

 opposite Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

, which chronicled the demise of the Storyville
Storyville
Storyville was the red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1897 through 1917. Locals usually simply referred to the area as The District.-History:...

 district and the ensuing exodus of musicians from New Orleans to Chicago. In the 1959 film, The Five Pennies
The Five Pennies
The Five Pennies was a semi-biographical 1959 film starring Danny Kaye as cornet player and bandleader Red Nichols. Other cast members included Barbara Bel Geddes, Harry Guardino, Bob Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Susan Gordon, and Tuesday Weld...

 (the story of the cornetist Red Nichols
Red Nichols
Ernest Loring "Red" Nichols was an American jazz cornettist, composer, and jazz bandleader.Over his long career, Nichols recorded in a wide variety of musical styles, and critic Steve Leggett describes him as "an expert cornet player, a solid improviser, and apparently a workaholic, since he is...

), he played himself as well as singing and playing several classic numbers, including a remarkable duet with Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye was a celebrated American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian...

 of When the Saints Go Marching In during which Kaye does a brilliant impersonation of Armstrong.
He also had a part in the film alongside James Stewart in "The Glenn Miller Story" in which Glenn (played by Stewart) went along to Connies Inn and had a jam session with him and a few other noted musicians of the time, Louis sang "Basin St. Blues"..

He was the first African American to host a nationally broadcast radio show in the 1930s. In 1969, Armstrong had a cameo role in the film version of Hello, Dolly! as the bandleader, Louis, to which he sang the title song with actress Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

. His solo recording of "Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (song)
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001....

" is one of his most recognizable performances.

He was heard on such radio programs as The Story of Swing (1937) and This Is Jazz (1947), and he also made countless television appearances, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, including appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from 1962 to 1992. It originally aired during late-night....

.

Armstrong has a record star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

 at 7601 Hollywood Boulevard.

Many of Armstrong's recordings remain popular. Almost four decades since his passing, a larger number of his recordings from all periods of his career are more widely available than at any time during his lifetime. His songs are broadcast and listened to every day throughout the world, and are honored in various movies, TV series, commercials, and even anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 and computer games. "A Kiss to Build a Dream On
A Kiss To Build a Dream On
"A Kiss to Build a Dream On" is a song composed by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1935. It was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1951 . It was also performed by Armstrong as well as by Mickey Rooney and William Demarest in the 1951 film "The Strip," and was a sort of recurring...

" was included in the computer game Fallout 2
Fallout 2
Fallout 2 is a computer role-playing game developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay in 1998. The game's story takes place in 2241, 80 years after the events of Fallout...

, accompanying the intro cinematic. It was also used in the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle
Sleepless in Seattle
The film was originally to have been scored by John Barry, but when he was given a list of 20 songs he had to put in the film, he quit.#As Time Goes By - Jimmy Durante #A Kiss to Build a Dream on - Louis Armstrong #Stardust - Nat King Cole...

 and the 2005 film Lord of War
Lord of War
Lord of War is a 2005 French-German-American action drama film written and directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Nicolas Cage. It was released in the United States on September 16, 2005, with the DVD following on January 17, 2006 and the Blu-ray Disc on July 27, 2006.Cage plays an illegal arms...

. His 1923 recordings, with Joe Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band, continue to be listened to as documents of ensemble style New Orleans jazz
New Orleans Jazz
New Orleans Jazz may refer to:*Dixieland, a style of jazz music*New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park*Utah Jazz, a professional National Basketball Association franchise that was previously based in New Orleans and known as the New Orleans Jazz, in recognition of the jazz music of New Orleans*A...

, but more particularly as ripper jazz records in their own right. All too often, however, Armstrong recorded with stiff, standard orchestras leaving only his sublime trumpet playing as of interest. "Melancholy Blues," performed by Armstrong and his Hot Seven was included on the Voyager Golden Record
Voyager Golden Record
The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for...

 sent into outer space to represent one of the greatest achievements of humanity. Most familiar to modern listeners is his ubiquitous rendition of "What a Wonderful World
What a Wonderful World
"What a Wonderful World" is a song written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world . Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999...

". In 2008, Armstrong's recording of Edith Piaf
Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf , born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer and cultural icon who became widely regarded as France's greatest popular singer. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads...

's famous "La Vie En Rose
La vie en rose
"La Vie en Rose" was the signature song of French singer Édith Piaf.-Signature song of Édith Piaf:Édith Piaf first popularized La Vie en Rose in 1946. The lyrics were written by Piaf and the melody of the song by "Louiguy" . Initially, Piaf's peers and her songwriting team did not think the song...

" was used in a scene of the popular Disney/Pixar film WALL-E
WALL-E
WALL-E, promoted with an interpunct as WALL•E, is a 2008 American computer-animated science fiction film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Andrew Stanton. The story follows a robot named WALL-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future...

. The song was also used in parts, especially the opening trumpets, in the French Film
French Film
French Film is a 2008 British comedy film directed by Jackie Oudney and starring Anne-Marie Duff, Hugh Bonneville, Victoria Hamilton, Douglas Henshall and Eric Cantona. The film was shot in Spring 2007 at various locations around London including Waterloo station and the BFI Southbank.-Plot:Two...

 Jeux d'enfants (English: Love Me If You Dare)

Argentine
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 writer Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar, born Jules Florencio Cortázar, was an Argentine writer. Cortázar, known as one of the founders of the Latin American Boom, influenced an entire generation of Spanish speaking readers and writers in the Americas and Europe.-Early life:Cortázar's parents, Julio José Cortázar and...

, a self-described Armstrong admirer, asserted that a 1952 Louis Armstrong concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is a theatre at 15 avenue Montaigne. Despite its name, the theatre is not on the Champs-Élysées but nearby in another part of the 8th arrondissement of Paris....

 in Paris played a significant role in inspiring him to create the fictional creatures called Cronopios that are the subject of a number of Cortázar's short stories. Cortázar once called Armstrong himself "Grandísimo Cronopio" (Most Enormous Cronopio).

Armstrong appears as a minor character in Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's Southern Victory Series. When he and his band escape from a Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

-like Confederacy, they enhance the insipid mainstream music of the North. A young Armstrong also appears as a minor character in Patrick Neate
Patrick Neate
Patrick Neate is an award-winning British novelist, journalist, poet, screenwriter and podcaster.-Early life:Born and raised as a Roman Catholic in South London, he was educated at St. Paul's School and Cambridge University. He spent a gap year in Zimbabwe and has since returned to Africa on many...

's 2001 novel Twelve Bar Blues
Twelve Bar Blues (novel)
Twelve Bar Blues is a 2001 novel by Patrick Neate, and the winner of that year's Whitbread novel award.The story is essentially about two people who share a common history - Fortis 'Lick' Holden, a cornet player in early 20th Century New Orleans, and Sylvia Di Napoli, a retired prostitute living in...

, part of which is set in New Orleans, and which was a winner at that year's Whitbread Book Awards
2001 Whitbread Awards
2001 was the first year that a book in the children's category was chosen as book of the year.-Children's Book:Winner:*Philip Pullman, The Amber SpyglassShortlist:*Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl*Eva Ibbotson, Journey to the River Sea...

.

There is a pivotal scene in 1980's Stardust Memories
Stardust Memories
Stardust Memories is a 1980 film written and directed by Woody Allen, who considers this to be one of his best films in addition to The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point. The film is shot in black-and-white, particularly reminiscent of Federico Fellini's 8½ , which it parodies...

 in which Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

 is overwhelmed by a recording of Armstrong's Stardust
Stardust (song)
"Stardust" is an American popular song composed in 1927 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics added in 1929 by Mitchell Parish. Originally titled "Star Dust", Carmichael first recorded the song at the Gennett Records studio in Richmond, Indiana...

 and experiences a nostalgic epiphany. The combination of the music and the perfect moment is the catalyst for much of the film's action, prompting the protagonist to fall in love with an ill-advised woman.

Armstrong is referred to in The Trumpet of the Swan
The Trumpet of the Swan
The Trumpet of the Swan is a children's novel by E.B. White published in 1970. It tells the story of Louis, a Trumpeter Swan born without a voice and trying to overcome it by learning to play a trumpet, always trying to impress a beautiful pen named Serena.-Plot summary:In Canada in the spring of...

 along with Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald , also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist...

 and Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

. Three siblings in the film are named Louis, Billie, and Ella. The main character, Louis, plays a trumpet, an obvious nod to Armstrong. In the original E. B. White
E. B. White
Elwyn Brooks White , usually known as E. B. White, was an American writer. A long-time contributor to The New Yorker magazine, he also wrote many famous books for both adults and children, such as the popular Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, and co-authored a widely used writing guide, The...

 book, he is referred to by name, by a child who hears Louis playing and comments, "He sounds just like Louis Armstrong, the famous trumpet player."

In the 2009 Disney Film The Princess and the Frog, one of the supporting characters is a trumpet-playing alligator named Louis. During the song "When I'm Human", Louis sings a line and it says "Y'all heard of Louis Armstrong".

Grammy Awards

Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.
Grammy Award
Year Category Title Genre Label Result
1964 Male Vocal Performance "Hello, Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (song)
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001....

"
Pop Kapp Winner

Grammy Hall of Fame

Recordings of Armstrong were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame
Grammy Hall of Fame Award
The Grammy Hall of Fame Award is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance"...

, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance."
Grammy Hall of Fame
Year recorded Title Genre Label Year inducted Notes
1929 "St. Louis Blues" Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 (Single)
OKeh 2008 with Bessie Smith
1928 "Weather Bird" Jazz (Single) OKeh 2008 with Earl Hines
Earl Hines
Earl Kenneth Hines, universally known as Earl "Fatha" Hines, was an American jazz pianist. Hines was one of the most influential figures in the development of modern jazz piano and, according to one source, is "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz".-Early...

1930 "Blue Yodel #9
(Standing on the Corner)
Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel No. 9)
"Blue Yodel #9" is a blues/country song by Jimmie Rodgers which included an unbilled Louis Armstrong on trumpet. The song is set in Memphis at the corner of Beale Street and Main Street, a block from the current location of B.B. King's Blues Club.First recorded on July 16, 1930, it was the ninth...

"
Country (Single) Victor 2007 Jimmie Rodgers (Featuring Louis Armstrong)
1932 "All of Me
All of Me (song)
"All of Me" is a popular song and jazz standard written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons in 1931.First performed by Belle Baker over the radio and recorded in December 1931 by Ruth Etting, it has become one of the most recorded songs of its era, with notable versions by Russ Columbo, Bing Crosby,...

"
Jazz (Single) Columbia 2005
1958 Porgy and Bess Jazz (Album) Verve 2001 with Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Jane Fitzgerald , also known as the "First Lady of Song" and "Lady Ella," was an American jazz and song vocalist...

1964 "Hello Dolly!
Hello, Dolly! (song)
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001....

"
Pop (Single) Kapp 2001
1926 "Heebie Jeebies
Heebie Jeebies (composition)
"Heebie Jeebies" is a composition written by Boyd Atkins which achieved fame when it was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1926. The recording on Okeh Records by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five includes a famous chorus in which Louis does scat singing....

"
Jazz (Single) OKeh 1999
1968 "What a Wonderful World
What a Wonderful World
"What a Wonderful World" is a song written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world . Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999...

"
Jazz (Single) ABC 1999
1955 "Mack the Knife
Mack the Knife
"Mack the Knife" or "The Ballad of Mack the Knife", originally "Die Moritat von Mackie Messer", is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or, as it is known in English, The Threepenny Opera. It premiered in Berlin in 1928 at the...

"
Jazz (Single) Columbia 1997
1925 "St. Louis Blues" Jazz (Single) Columbia 1993 Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

 with Louis Armstrong, cornet
1928 "West End Blues
West End Blues
"West End Blues" is a multi-strain 12 bar blues composition by Joe "King" Oliver. It is most commonly performed as an instrumental, although it has lyrics added by Clarence Williams....

"
Jazz (Single) OKeh 1974

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

 listed Armstrong's West End Blues on the list of 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll.
Year recorded Title Label Group
1928 West End Blues
West End Blues
"West End Blues" is a multi-strain 12 bar blues composition by Joe "King" Oliver. It is most commonly performed as an instrumental, although it has lyrics added by Clarence Williams....

Okeh
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
The Hot Five was Louis Armstrong's first jazz recording band led under his own name.It was a typical New Orleans jazz band in instrumentation, consisting of trumpet, clarinet, and trombone backed by a rhythm section...


Inductions and honors

In 1995, the U.S. Post Office issued a Louis Armstrong 32 cents commemorative postage stamp.
Year inducted Title Results Notes
2007 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame
Louisiana Music Hall of Fame
The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame is an IRS certified 501 non-profit organization based in the state capitol of Baton Rouge, La., that seeks to preserve Louisiana's rich music culture and heritage and to further educate its citizens and people worldwide about the state’s unique role contributing...

2007 Gennett Records
Gennett Records
Gennett was a United States based record label which flourished in the 1920s.-Label history:Gennett records was founded in Richmond, Indiana by the Starr Piano Company, and released its first records in October 1917. The company took its name from its top managers: Harry, Fred and Clarence Gennett....

 Walk of Fame, Richmond, Indiana
Richmond, Indiana
Richmond is a city largely within Wayne Township, Wayne County, in east central Indiana, United States, which borders Ohio. The city also includes the Richmond Municipal Airport, which is in Boston Township and separated from the rest of the city...

2007 Long Island Music Hall of Fame
Long Island Music Hall of Fame
The Long Island Music Hall of Fame is an organization whose office is located in Port Jefferson, New York. It was incorporated in July 2005 under the New York State Board of Regents as a non profit organization and holds a provisional charter to operate as a museum in the state of New York...

2004 Nesuhi Ertegün Jazz Hall of Fame
at Jazz at Lincoln Center
Jazz at Lincoln Center
Jazz at Lincoln Center is part of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. JALC's performing arts complex, Frederick P. Rose Hall, is located at West 60th Street and Broadway in New York City, slightly south of the main Lincoln Center campus and directly adjacent to Columbus Circle. Frederick P....

1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Early influence
1978 Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame
1952 Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame
Down Beat
Down Beat is an American magazine devoted to "jazz, blues and beyond" to indicate its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago, Illinois...

1960 Hollywood Walk of Fame Star at 7601 Hollywood Blvd.

Legacy

The house where Louis Armstrong lived for close to 28 years was declared a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1977 and is now a museum. The Louis Armstrong House Museum, at 34-56 107th Street (between 34th and 37th Avenues) in Corona, Queens, presents concerts and educational programs, operates as a historic house museum and makes materials in its archives of writings, books, recordings and memorabilia available to the public for research. The museum is operated by the City University of New York's Queens College, following the dictates of Lucille Armstrong's will
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

.

The museum opened to the public on October 15, 2003. A visitors center is currently being planned, and estimated to open in 2011.

The influence of Armstrong on the development of jazz is virtually immeasurable. Yet, his irrepressible personality both as a performer, and as a public figure later in his career, was so strong that to some it sometimes overshadowed his contributions as a musician and singer.

As a virtuoso trumpet player, Armstrong had a unique tone and an extraordinary talent for melodic improvisation
Improvisation
Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new structures or symbols, and/or...

. Through his playing, the trumpet emerged as a solo instrument in jazz and is used widely today. He was a masterful accompanist and ensemble player in addition to his extraordinary skills as a soloist. With his innovations, he raised the bar musically for all who came after him.

Though Armstrong is widely recognized as a pioneer of scat singing
Scat singing
In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. Scat singing gives singers the ability to sing improvised melodies and rhythms, to create the equivalent of an instrumental solo using their voice.- Structure and syllable choice...

, Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters was an American blues, jazz and gospel vocalist and actress. She frequently performed jazz, big band, and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues.Her best-known recordings includes, "Dinah", "Birmingham Bertha",...

 precedes his scatting on record in the 1930s according to Gary Giddins
Gary Giddins
Gary Giddins is an American jazz critic, author, and director, best known for his longtime work with The Village Voice. Born in Brooklyn, and raised on Long Island, Giddins graduated from Grinnell College, Iowa, in 1970...

 and others. Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra are just two singers who were greatly indebted to him. Holiday said that she always wanted Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

's 'big' sound and Armstrong's feeling in her singing. Even special musicians like Duke Ellington have praised Armstrong through strong testimonials. Duke Ellington said, "If anybody was a master, it was Louis Armstrong."

On August 4, 2001, the centennial of Armstrong's birth, New Orleans's airport was renamed Louis Armstrong International Airport in his honor.

In 2002, the Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven
Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
The Hot Five was Louis Armstrong's first jazz recording band led under his own name.It was a typical New Orleans jazz band in instrumentation, consisting of trumpet, clarinet, and trombone backed by a rhythm section...

 recordings (1925–1928) are preserved in the United States National Recording Registry, a registry of recording
Recording
Recording is the process of capturing data or translating information to a recording format stored on some storage medium, which is often referred to as a record or, if an auditory medium, a recording....

s selected yearly by the National Recording Preservation Board
National Recording Preservation Board
The United States National Recording Preservation Board selects recorded sounds for preservation in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. The National Recording Registry was initiated to maintain and preserve "sound recordings that are culturally, historically or aesthetically...

 for preservation in the National Recording Registry
National Recording Registry
The National Recording Registry is a list of sound recordings that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States." The registry was established by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, which created the National Recording...

 of the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

.

The US Open tennis tournament's former main stadium was named Louis Armstrong Stadium
Louis Armstrong Stadium
Louis Armstrong Stadium is a tennis stadium of the US Open, the last of each year's four Grand Slam tournaments. It is located at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, in the New York City borough of Queens; it was the main stadium before Arthur Ashe...

 in honor of Armstrong who had lived a few blocks from the site.

Today, there are many bands worldwide dedicated to preserving and honoring the music and style of Satchmo, including the Louis Armstrong Society located in New Orleans, LA.

Discography

Louis Armstrong albums
Louis Armstrong songs

Video clips


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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