You don’t understand. The Beatles run of massive hits in the 1960’s was akin to the Lakers’ run of titles in the 1980’s. They were an unstoppable, immovable force at the height of musical brilliance. They were the first foreign group to break through the American pop scene and held the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for three and a half months, starting it off with their monster single “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” But then, someone else came along seemingly out of nowhere. Well, not totally nowhere, but kind of nowhere. It was a 63 year old man named Louis Armstrong.
The iconic jazz artist had his share of wild successes throughout the 20th century, revolutionizing music beyond just the jazz genre. It was only fitting that he would come along and supplant the Beatles, the hot new band on the scene. There was one area the Beatles never really explored, and that was the trumpet. Yes, they had songs like “All You Need is Love” which featured an orchestral arrangement, but jazz is a different animal. Indeed, the stylings of Louis Armstrong are unique, and should always be treated as such.
Isn’t it remarkable how legends never seem to die? Look at Tony Bennett. He had a recent return to the spotlight alongside pop star Lady Gaga, as the pair began touring the country and performing duets. Even though Tony is hovering around 90, he doesn’t seem to want to slow down in the slightest.
Fast forward to the early 2000’s, when Paul McCartney was 63 years old, and he was also producing quality music. It’s clear that talent knows no boundaries, especially when it comes to age. Can you imagine how successful Justin Bieber will be in 40 years? You’d better Belieb it!
Anyway, we almost forgot to mention the song that propelled Louis to the top of the charts. It was “Hello Dolly.” Ever heard of it? A classic.
Not only was Louis immensely talented, but the man could sweat with the best of them. Not sure there’s been a musician who’s perspired more on-stage than the great Mr. Armstrong. It’s a compliment, really.
As a millennial, I can only imagine what it would’ve been like to witness this incredible era of music. But thanks to YouTube, I can try my best.
More young people today should listen to artists like Louis and Miles Davis, as they offer a more cultured musical offering compared to today.