Louis Armstrong was born on August 4, 1901 and raised in the Storyville district of New Orleans, Louisiana. As a child he was a street singer and learned to play the coronet while in reform school—serving a sentence for shooting a gun in the air on New Year’s Eve. As a teenager, he supported himself as a musician playing in clubs with his mentor, Joe “King” Oliver. In the early 1920s, Louis’ popularity soared--he went to Chicago as the soloist for King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, then to New York.
During the 1930s and 1940s Armstrong was recognized as one of the world’s greatest jazz coronet and trumpet players. He also became famous as a “swing” and big band leader and singer—innovating a new style of rhythmic wordless singing called “scat.” A new generation of fans in the 1950s and 1960s knew Armstrong as a singer, cultural icon, international celebrity, and good will ambassador. He made several hit records, including Mack the Knife (1956), Hello Dolly! (1963) and Wonderful World (1967). After his death in 1971, he was posthumously selected for a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 and two Hall of Fame Grammy Awards (1974 and 1993).