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Top 10 Amazing Facts about Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential Jazz artists that revolutionized the jazz music industry. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in a slave family.

Armstrong had a hard start in his life. His father was a factory worker who abandoned him and his family right after his birth.

Whereas, his mother was a prostitute who frequently left him with his maternal grandmother. However, despite a rough childhood, numerous miracles happened in his life.

Firstly, Armstrong was sent to coloured waif’s Home for Boys, after being arrested for firing a gun in the air at his stepfather. There he received his first cornet lesson.

The struggled childhood could not hamper his passion for music and he went on searching for a way to fulfill his dream. He was mentored by ‘Joe king”, one of the most famous cornet players in the town.

By the end of his career, Louis was a renowned trumpeter, soloist, singer, and bandleader.  Some of his popular music like “La Via”, “En Rose”, “What a wonderful world”, “star dust” became a remarkable success.

His unique, prestigious vocal, charismatic stage performance was an accolade by many musicians. Yet, Louis’s life had lots of things in his life that most people don’t know.

In this article, I am going to cover the top 10 interesting facts about Louis Armstrong that you might not have heard before.

10. Louis Arms Strong was arrested by Police When he was nine

Louis Armstrong visit to Colored Waifs Home

Louis Armstrong was arrested, for the dangerous and suspicious character at the age of nine with the other 5 boys.  He was sent to the coloured Waifis’ Home, an institution that looks after the orphan children. He had to stay there for two weeks. Armstrong was discharged to his aunt on November 8 1910.

9. First African American, most plenteous autobiographer, featured in Hollywood movie and host a national radio show in 1937.

Louis Armstrong in hollywod movie

Armstrong wasn’t only famous for his music. He was featured in over dozen of Hollywood movies. Some of his famous movies were New Orleans (1947), High Society (1956), and Hello Dolly (1969).  His first ghostwritten biography was Swing which was published in 1936. Louis wrote the second biography: “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans”, by himself which appeared in 1954. He signed the contract to host the radio program, “Fleischmann’s Yeast” in 1937

8. He was actually born on Aug 4, 1901.

Louis Armstrong - August 4, 1901 to July 6, 1971

In most of his biographies that were published before the 1980s, it was stated that he was born on July 4, 1900. Armstrong, himself often told that he was born on July 4, 1900. His real birthday, August 4, 1901, was revealed by researcher Tad Jones, after examining his baptism record.

7. He was the inventor of scat music

Louis Armstrong playing Trumpet

Armstrong was the first jazz musician that sings in nonsense syllables called “scat” instead of Rhythmic syllables. His first scat recording was “Heebie Jeebies”. He developed this style when he drops his music sheet while recording and couldn’t remember the lyrics

6. The airport in New Orleans is named after him.

Louis Armstrong International Airport

Have you ever travelled to New Orleans? The International Airport – “Louis Armstrong International Airport” in New Orleans is named after Louis Armstrong.

5. Louis Armstrong was a philanthropist

Louis Armstrong as a philanthropist

Louis Armstrong educational foundation, established and funded by Armstrong in 1969 was devoted to providing education, workshop, a foster program in the history of music and jazz.

4. He told president Dwight D. Eisenhower to go to hell

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Louis Armstrong was silence again the racism. He never spoke in public about it until he heard the news of the Arkansas National Guard tried to stop a black student from entering Little Rock High school. Armstrong publicly criticized president Dwight D. Eisenhower for not interceding in the incident. He also told the media “The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell!”.

3. Louis Armstrong has recorded over 60 different albums.

It sounds a lot. Yes, Armstrong records most of his great music between 1925-1928.  He was the first artist to use swing rhythm and use high pitch notes.  60 + albums sound a lot, but Armstrong unencumbered it, inspiring a generation of musicians, after him.

2. Armstrong earned of Nickname:

Louis Armstrong Wide Smile

Louis Armstrong pleasant smile, earned him a lot of nicknames like “Satchelmouth,” “Dippermouth,” and “Gatemouth”.  He likes one of his nicknames, “Satchmo”, mistakenly given by a London writer, so much that he used it in his autobiography.

1. Performed all over the world in his ‘50s and ‘60s

Louis Armstrong performance in his 60s'

The movement of the swing was massively increasingly outside America during the 1940s. Louis Armstrong tours overseas with Edward R Murrow and a camera crew. They later produce the documentary with that footage.

Conclusion: Louis Armstrong innovates and standardized Jazz Music. His contribution to Jazz music was substantial. A Lot of the above-mentioned facts beside his musical journey make him truly a great, wonderful human being.