7 of the best Louis Armstrong songs
27 April 2018, 17:40
He was one of the all-time greatest musicians, let alone jazz stars.
And now that the Royal Family has introduced Prince Louis to the world, we couldn't help but think of perhaps the world's most famous and favourite namesake: Louis Armstrong.
Yeah, we were stretching on this one. But any excuse to listen to Satchmo's finest!
1. 'What a Wonderful World'
This beautiful classic was first offered to Tony Bennett, but he amazingly turned it down.
Co-writer George David Weiss later said he always hoped Louis would perform it, as he was inspired by Armstrong's ability to bring people of different races together. It wasn't initially a hit in the United States, selling fewer than 1,000 copies, but was a huge success in the UK, where Louis became the oldest ever star to have a number one single, aged 66.
2. 'We Have All the Time in the World'
Composed by John Barry with lyrics by Hal David, this was the love theme from the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
The song's title is taken from Bond's final words in both the novel and the film, spoken after his wife's death. Barry chose Armstrong because he felt he could "deliver the title line with irony". It became a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1994, after its use in a Guinness advert.
3. 'Georgia on My Mind'
Ray Charles may have recorded the most famous version of this jazz standard, but Louis also made a beautiful cut.
Written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, it was later made the official song of the state of Georgia in 1979.
4. 'When the Saints Go Marching In'
A song that originated as a hymn in the 1890s, Louis totally transformed it into a jazz classic.
It has since been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton.
5. 'Mack the Knife'
Three years before Bobby Darin scored a huge jazz hit around the world with this song, Louis Armstrong had the first record with it.
The song was composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their music drama Die Dreigroschenoper, or The Threepenny Opera, in 1928. It told the tale of the deadly Mackie Messer, a character based on the highwayman Macheath in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (who was in turn based on the historical thief Jack Sheppard). English lyrics were then added by Gifford Cochran and Jerrold Krimsky in 1933.
6. 'St James Infirmary Blues'
Also known as 'Gambler's Blues', Louis first made the song famous in his haunting 1928 record. 1928!
He later recorded it on various occasions, and it has since been covered by the likes of The Doors, The White Stripes and Hugh Laurie.
7. 'Summertime' (with Ella Fitzgerald)
This George Gershwin standard has been performed by pretty much every jazz star over the years.
One of which was this beautiful version by Louis, alongside the stunning voice of Ella Fitzgerald.