National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – July 6th – Louie Armstrong

0 Comments 06 July 2012


Today’s DPD is an American Legend of the highest order. His effect on American culture – let alone jazz – is difficult to put into words. I think Duke Ellington’s elegy sums it up pretty well:

“If anybody was Mr. Jazz it was Louis Armstrong. He was the epitome of jazz and always will be. He is what I call an American standard, an American original.”

Coolest dude of all time. I don’t know about you but when I put some of his music on and dance in my undies my troubles just float away. If you’re telling me you’ve never freestyle scatted behind close doors you’re telling lies.

To put an American history perspective on it, its NOR’s view that Louis Armstrong had as much influence on America’s legacy as did Mark Twain. Armstrong worked tirelessly with the State Department and traveled all over the world being the unofficial America Ambassador of Goodwill. Where Twain helped define the early American attitude and philosophy, Armstrong helped form and propagate one of the most important truly American art forms.

He was accessible, incredibly talented and gregarious. Good combo.

3 points about the obit:

1. My favorite quote is from a 1968 interview when  he was discussing his early life – “I was foolin’ around with some tough ones. Get paid a little money, and a beeline for one of them gambling houses. Two hours, man, and I was a broke cat, broker than the Ten Commandments. Needed money so bad I even tried pimping, but my first client got jealous of me and we got to fussing about it and she stabbed me in the shoulder. Them was wild times.” — I guess pimpin never was easy eh?

2. At his funeral The honorary pallbearers included Governor Rockefeller, Mayor Lindsay, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Guy Lombardo, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson, David Frost, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett and Bobby Hackett.

3. Back then they still printed the person’s address in case people wanted to send anything. I’m not saying thats a bad thing, I’m just saying that would never happen in this day and age.

Cool, refreshing obits on a Fryday

Louis Armstrong, Jazz Trumpeter and Singer, Dies

July 6, 1971

Louis Armstrong, the celebrated jazz trumpeter and singer, died in his sleep yesterday morning at his home in the Corona section of Queens. He had observed his 71st birthday Sunday.




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