Louis Armstrong - What A Wonderful World (Original Spoken Intro Version) ABC Records 1967, 1970
"What a Wonderful World" [1970 Spoken Introduction Version] along with Oliver Nelson's Orchestra is a song written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1967. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world (Thiele as a producer and Weiss as a composer/performer). Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was initially offered to Tony Bennett, who turned it down. Thereafter, it was offered to Louis Armstrong.Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 -- July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana.Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also skilled at scat singing (vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of actual lyrics).Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over", whose skin color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African-Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation during the Little Rock Crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society that were highly restricted for a black man.Armstrong died of a heart attack in his sleep on July 6, 1971 at the age of 69, 11 months after playing a famous show at the Waldorf-Astoria's Empire Room. He was residing in Corona, Queens, New York City, at the time of his death. He was interred in Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, in Queens, New York City. His honorary pallbearers included Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Pearl Bailey, Count Basie, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Ed Sullivan, Earl Wilson, Alan King, Johnny Carson and David Frost. Peggy Lee sang The Lord's Prayer at the services while Al Hibbler sang "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and Fred Robbins, a long-time friend, gave the eulogy.Armstrong was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording. Recordings of Armstrong were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance.""Some of you young folks been saying to me" Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That ain't so wonderful either."Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me, it aint the world that's so bad but what we're doin' to it. And all I'm saying is see what a wonderful world It would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah.If lots more of us loved each otherwe'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be gasser.That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying."I see trees of green, red roses tooI see them bloom, for me and youAnd I think to myselfWhat a wonderful worldI see skies of blue, and clouds of whiteThe bright blessed day, dark sacred nightAnd I think to myselfWhat a wonderful worldThe colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the skyAre also on the faces, of people going byI see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"They're really sayin', "I love you"I hear babies cryin', I watch them growThey'll learn much more, than I'll ever knowAnd I think to myselfWhat a wonderful worldYes, I think to myselfWhat a wonderful worldOh yeah!