Powered by LastFMTop 5 Scrobbled Songs By Louis Armstrong
Forty years ago today, America lost jazz legend Louis Armstrong. The trumpet player and singer known as “Satchmo” was an extremely popular entertainer and remains one of the most important names in American music history.
Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, even though he often said his birth date was June 4, 1900. That was part of Armstrong’s persona: besides being a great performer, he was also a great story-teller, and his audience had to keep guessing when reality ended and fantasy began.
Armstrong grew up in poverty and attended the Fisk School for Boys, where he most likely was introduced to Creole music. He watched many performers in the streets of New Orleans, which would become valuable experience for the young boy.Photo Flashback: Louis Armstrong
He dropped out of school at age eleven and joined a singing quartet of boys that sang in the streets for money.
Also at a young age, he worked for the Karnofskys, a Jewish family that took young Armstrong in, nurtured and fed him, and lent him the money to buy his first cornet.
As an homage to the family that was so good to him, he always wore a Star of David around his neck, despite not being Jewish.
Armstrong was also a big trouble-maker as a kid, sent to the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifers for delinquency for multiple offenses including firing a pistol into the air at a New Year’s celebration. In the Home, he started practicing the cornet vigorously under the tutelage of Professor Peter Davis. After Armstrong was released from the Home, it did not take long for him to get his first dance hall job.
NEXT PAGE: A timeline of Louis Armstrong’s legendary music career