41 Years Ago

41 years ago this morning, Louis Armstrong passed away....or as David Ostwald likes to say, he "allegedly" passed away. Judging by the popularity of his music and the thousands of people that visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum each year, I'd say that Pops is in no danger of being forgotten.

I believe I've shared this before and I must share it again: here's how NBC News reported Armstrong's death on July 6, 1971, using "New Orleans Function" as the backdrop for a photo montage from Louis's life:

And this is something I've never shared, but it's quite good. After Louis died, Hearst Metrotone did a 12-minute special about Louis's death, hosted by Billy Taylor and including footage of the funeral, including words by Taylor and Fred Robbins and performances by Peggy Lee and Al Hibbler. More importantly, the footage you'll see from the end of Louis doing "Boy From New Orleans" is from the Waldorf Astoria in March 1971, Louis's last engagement! This is deep stuff:

July 6 is always a sad day but just listen to Louis's recorded legacy or watch him in action on YouTube and all will be right with the world. In fact, why don't you start with "West End Blues" again? On June 28, I re-posted an old exhaustive (and exhausting) blog I did on that seminal work but I didn't realize that most of the original links now led to nowhere. (Thanks for all the readers who wrote in to tell me!) I went in and fixed them all so you can now listen from scratch here: 84 Years of West End Blues.

Thanks everyone and thanks, Pops.


Scott Johnson said…
Ricky -- I've only this week begun to savor your thoughtful and insightful posts and am looking forward to the status of a regular follower. I was stunned to see your post of the recent passing of that fellow traveler Jos Willems. I got to know Jos well, over ten years ago when he kept me on the right track with the old satchography.com website (anybody remember that?). I was a true neophyte and he kept me on the right track more than twice. He even let me ghost the epilogue for his book, and I was proud that he used it. He was a great guy and his discography is a lasting gift to all of us fans of Louis. - scott

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