Louis Armstrong Biography Profile

04 Mar 2006, 16:52  23,342,625  1,616,570

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 - July 6, 1971) nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an inventive trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly-recognizable gravelly voice, 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 skilled at scat singing (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 music in an America that was severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.

Armstrong was born and brought up in New Orleans, a culturally diverse town with a unique musical mix of creole, ragtime, marching bands, and blues. Although from an early age he was able to play music professionally, he didn't travel far from New Orleans until 1922, when he went to Chicago to join his mentor, King Oliver. Oliver's band played primitive jazz, a hotter style of ragtime, with looser rhythms and more improvisation, and Armstrong's role was mostly backing. Slow to promote himself, he was eventually persuaded by his wife Lil Hardin to leave Oliver, and In 1924 he went to New York to join the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. At the time, there were a few other artists using the rhythmic innovations of the New Orleans style, but none did it with the energy and brilliance of Armstrong, and he quickly became a sensation among New York musicians. Back in Chicago in 1925, he made his first recordings with his own group, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, and these became not only popular hits but also models for the first generation of jazz musicians, trumpeters or otherwise.

Other hits followed through the twenties and thirties, as well as troubles: crooked managers, lip injuries, mob entanglements, failed big-band ventures. As jazz styles changed, though, musical purists never lost any respect for him -- although they were sometimes irritated by his hammy onstage persona. Around the late forties, with the help of a good manager, Armstrong's business affairs finally stablilized, and he began to be seen as an elder statesman of American popular entertainment, appearing in Hollywood films, touring Asia and Europe, and dislodging The Beatles from the number-one position with Hello Dolly". Today many people may know him as a singer (a good one), but as Miles Davis said: “You can’t play nothing on modern trumpet that doesn’t come from him."

The 62-year-old Armstrong became the oldest act to top the US charts when "Hello Dolly" reached #1 in 1964. Four years later Satchmo also became the oldest artist to record a UK #1, when "What a Wonderful World" hit the top spot.


Top Track of "Louis Armstrong"

What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

What a Wonderful World

725,823
3,501,533
La vie en rose - Louis Armstrong

La vie en rose

288,241
1,173,206
Mack the Knife - Louis Armstrong

Mack the Knife

203,945
587,460
Blueberry Hill - Louis Armstrong

Blueberry Hill

131,905
364,072
Hello Dolly - Louis Armstrong

Hello Dolly

121,458
645,996
Summertime - Louis Armstrong

Summertime

110,838
297,174
Basin Street Blues - Louis Armstrong

Basin Street Blues

90,758
228,241
Ain't Misbehavin' - Louis Armstrong

Ain't Misbehavin'

87,023
217,793
Jeepers Creepers - Louis Armstrong

Jeepers Creepers

83,216
210,298
Cabaret - Louis Armstrong

Cabaret

81,214
213,710
C'est si bon - Louis Armstrong

C'est si bon

71,768
190,198
West End Blues - Louis Armstrong

West End Blues

67,275
166,685
Kiss of Fire - Louis Armstrong

Kiss of Fire

66,798
181,701
Christmas In New Orleans - Louis Armstrong

Christmas In New Orleans

64,173
135,946
When You're Smiling - Louis Armstrong

When You're Smiling

61,344
157,917
Winter Wonderland - Louis Armstrong

Winter Wonderland

54,841
119,275
Cool Yule - Louis Armstrong

Cool Yule

54,324
137,146
St. Louis Blues - Louis Armstrong

St. Louis Blues

53,696
136,282
St. James Infirmary - Louis Armstrong

St. James Infirmary

52,627
132,299
Go Down Moses - Louis Armstrong

Go Down Moses

51,027
160,381
It Takes Two To Tango - Louis Armstrong

It Takes Two To Tango

50,561
138,815
White Christmas - Louis Armstrong

White Christmas

46,625
106,287
Mood Indigo - Louis Armstrong

Mood Indigo

45,652
100,936
Georgia On My Mind - Louis Armstrong

Georgia On My Mind

43,718
114,912
Moon River - Louis Armstrong

Moon River

38,344
136,381
Sittin' In The Sun - Louis Armstrong

Sittin' In The Sun

35,835
103,787
Heebie Jeebies - Louis Armstrong

Heebie Jeebies

35,821
79,910
Hello, Dolly! - Louis Armstrong

Hello, Dolly!

34,477
106,820
Lazy River - Louis Armstrong

Lazy River

34,140
79,418
Muskrat Ramble - Louis Armstrong

Muskrat Ramble

33,994
78,268
Mahogany Hall Stomp - Louis Armstrong

Mahogany Hall Stomp

33,767
81,307
Gone Fishin' - Louis Armstrong

Gone Fishin'

33,689
94,536
Rockin' Chair - Louis Armstrong

Rockin' Chair

31,044
74,296