What a Wonderful World ~ Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, nicknamed Satchmo or Sachimo and Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an innovative cornet and trumpet virtuoso, Armstrong was a foundational influence on jazz, shifting the music’s focus from collective improvisation to solo performers. With his distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was 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, or wordless vocalizing.

Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, Armstrong’s influence extended well beyond jazz, and by the end of his career in the ’60s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general: critic Steve Leggett describes Armstrong as “perhaps the most important American musician of the 20th century.”

What a Wonderful World

Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate in the U.S. (and written specifically for Armstrong, who had broad crossover appeal), the song details the singer’s delight in the simple enjoyment of everyday life. The song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was not initially a hit in the United States, where it sold fewer than 1,000 copies, but was a major success in the UK, reaching number one on the UK singles chart. It was also the biggest-selling single of 1968 in the UK. The song made Louis Armstrong the oldest male to top the charts, at sixty-six years and ten months old.

The song gradually became something of a standard and reached a new level of popularity. It was re-released in America shortly after Armstrong’s death in 1971 and became a top ten hit.

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I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’ “how do you do?”
They’re really sayin’ “I love you”

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Oh yeah

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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