Louis Armstrong - African Americans, Timeline and Family

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Louis Armstrong's Personal Details

Louis Armstrong was an American jazz trumpeter and singer who was one of the most influential figures in jazz music

InformationDetail
BirthdayAugust 4, 1901
Died onJuly 6, 1971
NationalityAmerican
FamousAfrican American Singers, African Americans, Black Musicians, Black Singers, Musicians, Singers
City/StateLouisiana
SpousesAlpha Smith, Daisy Parker, Lil Hardin, Lucille Wilson
SiblingsBeatrice
Discoveries / Inventions
  • Swiss Kriss
Birth PlaceNew Orleans
ReligionBaptist
GenderMale
FatherWilliam Armstrong
MotherMay-Ann
Sun SignLeo
Born inNew Orleans
Famous asMusician
Died at Age69

// Famous African American Singers

Louis Armstrong's photo

Who is Louis Armstrong?

Louis Armstrong was an American jazz trumpeter and singer who was one of the most influential figures in jazz music. Famous for his innovative methods of playing the trumpet and cornet, he was also a highly talented singer blessed with a powerful gravelly voice. Known for his improvisation skills, Armstrong could bend and twist the lyrics and melody of a song with dramatic effects. Coming to prominence in the mid 20th century America when racism was much prevalent, he was one of the first African-American entertainers to be highly popular among both the white and the colored segments of the society. Fondly nicknamed Satchmo or Pops by his fans, he is often regarded to be the founding father of jazz as a uniquely American art form. Born into poverty in New Orleans, he had a very difficult childhood after his father abandoned the family. As a young boy, he sought solace in music and started playing musical instruments as a teenager to earn his living. He soon discovered that he was naturally gifted in music and over a period of years established himself as a much respected player of jazz music. He entertained millions over the course of his long and illustrious career and went on to become one of the first great celebrities of the 20th century.

// Famous Black Singers

Childhood & Early Life

Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., to William Armstrong, a factory worker, and Mary Albert. His family was very poor. His father abandoned the family when Louis was young, and his mother often had to resort to prostitution to provide for the family.

He had to drop out of school in order to work and augment his mother’s meager income. He started singing in the streets for money and also began working for a Jewish family, the Karnofskys, who treated young Louis as a family member and encouraged his musical talents.

He fired his step-father’s gun in the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration in 1912 and was arrested and sent to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys. There he received musical instruction and realized that he had a natural talent for playing the cornet. By the time he was released from the home in 1914, he had realized that his life’s calling was to make music.

Career

Out of the home, he started taking music more seriously and began playing with a number of bands. He also learned about music from older musicians such as Buddy Petit, Kid Ory, and Joe "King" Oliver. By the late 1910s he had become a popular jazz music player in New Orleans.

In 1922, he moved to Chicago and joined his mentor Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Chicago was a thriving city at that time, and offered much scope for entertainers, especially musicians. Soon Armstrong became very famous and successful, and garnered a huge fan following.

Looking for better career prospects, he left Oliver in 1924 and joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, the top African-American dance band in New York City at the time. Again he proved to be much successful and soon transformed Henderson’s band into what is today regarded as the first jazz big band.

The Great Depression set in during the late 1920s, and Armstrong’s hitherto thriving career suffered a setback. The depression caused several of the prominent clubs where he played to shut down. Many of his fellow musicians shifted to other professions to make a living.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1930 and played at the New Cotton Club. The club was often visited by the Hollywood crowd, and celebrities like Bing Crosby were regulars there. However, Armstrong did not stay there for long and returned to Chicago in late 1931.

He travelled a lot during the 1930s and visited countries like Britain, Denmark, France, Scandinavia, and Holland where he gave concerts. His popularity as a performer reached new heights during the late 1930s.

He also ventured into films and played a band leader in the motion picture ‘Pennies from Heaven’ with Bing Crosby in 1936, becoming the first African-American to get featured billing in a major Hollywood movie. He also appeared in several other movies with big Hollywood stars in the ensuing years.

He continued performing and recording throughout the 1940s and 1950s, releasing a string of super hits like ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘That Lucky Old Sun’, ‘La Vie En Rose’, and ‘I Get Ideas’. During the mid-1950s his international popularity skyrocketed and he embarked on world tours to several countries, performing in front of sold-out crowds in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Major Works

His 1954 studio release ‘Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy’ is considered to be one of his masterpieces. Featuring timeless hits like ‘St. Louis Blues’, ‘Yellow Dog Blues’, ‘Loveless Love’, and ‘Aunt Hagar's Blues’, the album is described by Allmusic as "essential music for all serious jazz collections".

Armstrong’s 1967 single ‘What a Wonderful World’ was an iconic song that peaked at No.1 in Austria and U.K. and reached the top ten in several other countries like Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, and Norway.

Awards & Achievements

Louis Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Personal Life & Legacy

He was married four times. His first marriage was to a former prostitute named Daisy Parker in 1918. The marriage was tumultuous from the very beginning and soon ended in a divorce. He had adopted a young boy called Clarence over the course of this marriage.

He married Lil Hardin in 1924. His second wife played a major role in shaping Armstrong’s career, but the two drifted apart in the late 1920s and divorced years later.

His third marriage was to Alpha Smith which lasted four years before ending.

His fourth and final marriage was to a singer, Lucille Wilson, to whom he was married until his death in 1971.

A prolific musician, he led a very hectic life often performing up to 300 concerts a year. His lifestyle began taking its toll on his health during the late 1960s and he began suffering from kidney and heart problems. His health declined steadily in 1970 and he died in his sleep on July 6, 1971, at his home in Queens, New York.

Even though he never had children from any of his marriages, a new controversy emerged in 2012 when a woman named Sharon Preston claimed that she was his biological daughter from a 1950s affair he had with a dancer named Lucille Preston. Personal letters Armstrong had written in the 1950s confirm the fact that he believed Sharon to be his daughter and paid for her upbringing.

// Famous Musicians

Louis Armstrong awards

YearNameAward

Other

1972 - Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
1964 - Grammy Award for Male Vocal Performance

Louis Armstrong biography timelines

  • // 4th Aug 1901
    Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901, in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., to William Armstrong, a factory worker, and Mary Albert. His family was very poor. His father abandoned the family when Louis was young, and his mother often had to resort to prostitution to provide for the family.
  • // 1912 To 1914
    He fired his step-father’s gun in the air during a New Year’s Eve celebration in 1912 and was arrested and sent to the Colored Waif's Home for Boys. There he received musical instruction and realized that he had a natural talent for playing the cornet. By the time he was released from the home in 1914, he had realized that his life’s calling was to make music.
  • // 1918
    He was married four times. His first marriage was to a former prostitute named Daisy Parker in 1918. The marriage was tumultuous from the very beginning and soon ended in a divorce. He had adopted a young boy called Clarence over the course of this marriage.
  • // 1922
    In 1922, he moved to Chicago and joined his mentor Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. Chicago was a thriving city at that time, and offered much scope for entertainers, especially musicians. Soon Armstrong became very famous and successful, and garnered a huge fan following.
  • // 1924
    Looking for better career prospects, he left Oliver in 1924 and joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, the top African-American dance band in New York City at the time. Again he proved to be much successful and soon transformed Henderson’s band into what is today regarded as the first jazz big band.
  • // 1924
    He married Lil Hardin in 1924. His second wife played a major role in shaping Armstrong’s career, but the two drifted apart in the late 1920s and divorced years later.
  • // 1930 To 1931
    He moved to Los Angeles in 1930 and played at the New Cotton Club. The club was often visited by the Hollywood crowd, and celebrities like Bing Crosby were regulars there. However, Armstrong did not stay there for long and returned to Chicago in late 1931.
  • // 1936
    He also ventured into films and played a band leader in the motion picture ‘Pennies from Heaven’ with Bing Crosby in 1936, becoming the first African-American to get featured billing in a major Hollywood movie. He also appeared in several other movies with big Hollywood stars in the ensuing years.
  • // 1954
    His 1954 studio release ‘Louis Armstrong Plays W. C. Handy’ is considered to be one of his masterpieces. Featuring timeless hits like ‘St. Louis Blues’, ‘Yellow Dog Blues’, ‘Loveless Love’, and ‘Aunt Hagar's Blues’, the album is described by Allmusic as "essential music for all serious jazz collections".
  • // 1967
    Armstrong’s 1967 single ‘What a Wonderful World’ was an iconic song that peaked at No.1 in Austria and U.K. and reached the top ten in several other countries like Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, and Norway.
  • // 1970 To 6th Jul 1971
    A prolific musician, he led a very hectic life often performing up to 300 concerts a year. His lifestyle began taking its toll on his health during the late 1960s and he began suffering from kidney and heart problems. His health declined steadily in 1970 and he died in his sleep on July 6, 1971, at his home in Queens, New York.
  • // 1971
    His fourth and final marriage was to a singer, Lucille Wilson, to whom he was married until his death in 1971.
  • // 1972
    Louis Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
  • // 2012
    Even though he never had children from any of his marriages, a new controversy emerged in 2012 when a woman named Sharon Preston claimed that she was his biological daughter from a 1950s affair he had with a dancer named Lucille Preston. Personal letters Armstrong had written in the 1950s confirm the fact that he believed Sharon to be his daughter and paid for her upbringing.

// Famous African Americans

Louis Armstrong's FAQ

  • What is Louis Armstrong birthday?

    Louis Armstrong was born at 1901-08-04

  • When was Louis Armstrong died?

    Louis Armstrong was died at 1971-07-06

  • Where was Louis Armstrong died?

    Louis Armstrong was died in Corona

  • Which age was Louis Armstrong died?

    Louis Armstrong was died at age 69

  • Where is Louis Armstrong's birth place?

    Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans

  • What is Louis Armstrong nationalities?

    Louis Armstrong's nationalities is American

  • Who is Louis Armstrong spouses?

    Louis Armstrong's spouses is Alpha Smith, Daisy Parker, Lil Hardin, Lucille Wilson

  • Who is Louis Armstrong siblings?

    Louis Armstrong's siblings is Beatrice

  • What is Louis Armstrong's inventions/discoveries?

    Swiss Kriss was invented (or discovered) by Louis Armstrong

  • What is Louis Armstrong's religion?

    Louis Armstrong's religion is Baptist

  • Who is Louis Armstrong's father?

    Louis Armstrong's father is William Armstrong

  • Who is Louis Armstrong's mother?

    Louis Armstrong's mother is May-Ann

  • What is Louis Armstrong's sun sign?

    Louis Armstrong is Leo

  • How famous is Louis Armstrong?

    Louis Armstrong is famouse as Musician