Louis Armstrong Biography

Louis Armstrong’s achievements are remarkable. During his career, he:

  • Developed a way of playing jazz, as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, which has had an impact on all musicians to follow.
  • Recorded hit songs for five decades, and his music is still heard today on television and radio and in films.
  • Wrote two autobiographies, more than ten magazine articles, hundreds of pages of memoirs, and thousands of letters.
  • Was the only Black Jazz musician to publicly speak out against school segregation in 1957.
  • So popular that warring sides in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa temporarily stopped fighting in 1960 to attend an Armstrong concert.
  • Appeared in more than thirty films (over twenty were full-length features) as a gifted actor with superb comic timing and an unabashed joy of life.
  • Composed dozens of songs that have become jazz standards.
  • Performed an average of 300 concerts each year, with his frequent tours to all parts of the world earning him the nickname “Ambassador Satch,” and became one of the first great celebrities of the twentieth century.
Louis as a teenager in New Orleans with his mother Mayann and sister Beatrice
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, 1926

Through the years, Louis entertained millions, from heads of state and royalty to the kids on his stoop in Corona. Despite his fame, he remained a humble man and lived a simple life in a working-class neighborhood. To this day, everyone loves Louis Armstrong just the mention of his name makes people smile.

By the time Louis Armstrong died in 1971 he profoundly changed the culture of the world. He was born into his affability and his musical excellence, underscored by comic genius combined to make him one of the first great pop figures of the 20th century.

~ Peter Watrous in the New York Times.


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Louis Armstrong House Museum     34-56 107 Street   Corona, Queens, NY 11368   718-478-8274   Fax: 718-478-8299   www.louisarmstronghouse.org