American jazz musician (1900-1971). He is considered by many to be the greatest jazzman ever, thanks to his astounding technical ability, his quick musical mind, and the joy he brought to his music.

Born in New Orleans to a very poor family, Louis (nicknamed "Satchmo") was sent to reform school when he was a kid for shooting a gun in the air on New Year's Eve. He learned to play the cornet at reform school, but he didn't have a horn of his own, so he wasn't able to play after he was released. However, he listened to bands in jazz clubs, where trumpet player Joe "King" Oliver took Louis under his wing, gave him his first cornet, and gave him trumpet lessons.

Armstrong played in clubs in New Orleans, St. Louis, and finally, playing with Oliver in Chicago, where his amazing playing made him a sensation among other Chicago musicians. He recorded some records for other artists in New York City, including Bessie Smith's classic "St. Louis Blues" in 1925.

He returned to Chicago in 1925 and made his first records under his own name, and his fame began to grow as those recordings were released. He returned in triumph to New Orleans in 1931 and toured Europe and the United States.

In 1938, Armstrong put together a band called Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra, which toured for ten years and was one of the most popular acts in America, making Louis one of the most famous men in America. But as the 1940s came to an end, trends in jazz were changing, and Armstrong's concerts were becoming less popular, so the orchestra was replaced with a small group of soloists, the Louis Armstrong All-Stars, who became extremely popular worldwide.

He had a number-one single in 1963 with his version of "Hello Dolly!", followed a few years later with another number-one, the infectiously optimistic "What a Wonderful World".

Addendum: avalyn sez: "Allegedly, the July 4, 1900 birthdate he often quoted was conjecture as he didn't actually know his birthdate. His birth certificate shows his date of birth as August 4, 1901. (Or so says the IMDB.)"

He was actually born in 1901, though all his life he claimed he was born on the Fourth of July in 1900.

"What a Wonderful World" didn't make the Top 40 until 1988, two decades after it was recorded, thanks to its inclusion in the soundtrack of the movie "Good Morning Vietnam."

Though we know him by the nickname Satchmo, said to be short for "Satchel Mouth," his closest friends knew him as Pops.

Of Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis once said, "Even if you lied about how great Pops is, he's greater than that."

Louis Armstrong's mother was a whore. A 15-year old whore, as a matter of fact.
His first wife was a whore, too, by the way.

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans in 1900, and by the age of 6 was helping finance his mother, sister and grandmother. At the age of 12, he was arrested for shooting in the air, and put in an institution for juvenile delinquents. There he learned to play the trumpet, and when he was released, a year later, he started performing with it. (He had already performed in street vocal groups before).
At the age of 17, he married a 19-year old whore, who beat him up regularly. When she cut him with a razor blade, however, he left her (and did not associate with whores thereafter).
At the age of 28, he was arrested for the possession of drugs.
He remarried 3 more times. His final marriage was to a Cotton Club dancer, named Lucille in 1942.
He was haunted by the FBI, due to his public speaking against racial segregation.

Miles Davis said, "When you blow into an instrument, you know you will never get it to produce a sound Louis hadn't produced before."

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