by: Gilbert Londre
Louis Armstrong, nicknamed ‘Pops’, ‘Satchmo’, or ‘Ambassador Satch', was born on August 4, 1901. Armstrong was born in New Orleans, LA. He grew up in an extremely poor section in New Orleans, nicknamed “The Battlefield”. Armstrong’s father worked at a factory and left Armstrong and his mother soon after Louis’s birth. Armstrong had to start working at a very young age to get money for his family, whether it was singing on the street corner for pennies, working on a junk wagon, selling coal, or even cleaning graves. At a New Year’s celebration, Armstrong fired off his old father’s gun and was arrested. Armstrong was sent to Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. Armstrong had learned about some music, and even picked up the cornet on the streets while he was out in the city. Colored Waif’s Home for Boys was where Armstrong officially had lessons for the cornet. After his release, Armstrong dreamed about a life in music. He played on the streets for money, and soon became very well-known and popular for his skills. One man, Joe “King” Oliver, considered one of the best trumpet players in New Orleans, took Armstrong in as his apprentice. When he was 17, Armstrong married Daisy Parker, a prostitute. Armstrong had a violent relationship with his wife. Also, when he was 17, Armstrong his cousin’s son, Clarence, because his mother died in childbirth. Oliver soon took a position in Chicago in a new band. Armstrong continued with his career in New Orleans, building up his reputation, working with more famous and more famous musicians. Armstrong even replaced Oliver’s position in Kid Ory’s band, which was the most popular one at the time. In 1922, Oliver invited Armstrong over to Chicago to play in his band, to which Armstrong accepted. This is the start of Armstrong’s touring and recording career. Two years later, Armstrong moved to New York City. He moved back to Chicago in 1925 and started his own band, the Hot Five. Armstrong’s music spread very quickly and many people became fans. Armstrong continued to moved back and forth between New York City and Chicago, becoming ever more popular. Soon Armstrong toured in several U.S. states like California. Around the same time he started touring a larger portion of the U.S., Armstrong started appearing on radio shows and films. In 1932, Armstrong toured England for three months. Armstrong also stayed in a Paris for a while. When Armstrong returned to the U.S., he got a new manager-Joe Glaser-who helped him with his legal and financial problems. Glaser also helped Armstrong become internationally. Many all around the world loved his music, earning him the nickname “Ambassador Satch”. In 1942, Armstrong remarried with Lucille Wilson, a dancer at a club he performed at. In 1943, they bought and moved into a small house. In 1947, Armstrong formed another band, called the “All-Stars”. Armstrong was working on setting up rehearsals until the day he died on July 6, 1971.
Armstrong inspired the entire world with his music up until the day he died.