photo of Louis ArmstrongPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Louis Armstrong

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Louis Armstrong. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Louis Armstrong

Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), nicknamed "Satchmo", "Satch", and "Pops", was an American trumpeter and vocalist who was among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades and different eras in the history of jazz.\n\nArmstrong was born and raised in New Orleans. 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. Around 1922, he followed his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, to Chicago to play in the Creole Jazz Band. In Chicago, he spent time with other popular jazz musicians, reconnecting with his friend Bix Beiderbecke and spending time with Hoagy Carmichael and Lil Hardin. He earned a reputation at "cutting contests" and his fame reached band leader Fletcher Henderson. Henderson persuaded Armstrong to come to New York City, where he became a featured and musically influential band soloist and recording artist. Hardin became Armstrong's second wife and they returned to Chicago to play together and then he began to form his own "Hot" jazz bands. After years of touring, he settled in Queens, and by the 1950s, he was a national musical icon, assisted in part, by his appearances on radio and in film and television, in addition to his concerts.

With his instantly recognizable rich, gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer and skillful improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song. He was also skilled at scat singing. Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice as well as his trumpet playing. By the end of Armstrong's life, his influence had spread to popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to "cross over" to wide popularity with white (and international) audiences. He rarely publicly politicized his race, to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. He was able to access the upper echelons of American society at a time when this was difficult for black men.

Armstrong appeared in films such as High Society (1956) alongside Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra, and Hello, Dolly! (1969) starring Barbra Streisand. He received many accolades including three Grammy Award nominations and a win for his vocal performance of Hello, Dolly! in 1964. In 2017, he was posthumously inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

Quote: Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.


Quote: White folks still in the lead. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

White folks still in the lead.




Quote: You either have it or you don't. You play your horn just like you sing a song or a hymn. If it's in your heart, you express yourself in the tune. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

You either have it or you don't. You play your horn just like you sing a song or a hymn. If it's in your heart, you express yourself in the tune.


Quote: If it sounds good, it is good. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

If it sounds good, it is good.


Quote: Man, if you have to ask what it jazz is, you'll never know. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Man, if you have to ask what it jazz is, you'll never know.


Quote: If it hadn't been for Jazz, there wouldn't be no rock and roll. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

If it hadn't been for Jazz, there wouldn't be no rock and roll.


Quote: Love is talkative passion. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Love is talkative passion.


Quote: The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell! by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

The way they are treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell!


Quote: You can't take it for granted. Even if we have two, three days off I still have to blow that horn a few hours to keep up the chops. I mean I've been playing 50 years, and that's what I've been doing in order to keep in that groove there. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

You can't take it for granted. Even if we have two, three days off I still have to blow that horn a few hours to keep up the chops. I mean I've been playing 50 years, and that's what I've been doing in order to keep in that groove there.


Quote: Each man has his own music bubbling up inside him. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Each man has his own music bubbling up inside him.


Quote: At first it was just a misdemeanor, but then you lost the mis-de and you just got meaner and meaner. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

At first it was just a misdemeanor, but then you lost the mis-de and you just got meaner and meaner.


Quote: There's a thing I've dreamed of all my life, and I'll be damned if it don't look like it's about to come true-to be King of the Zulu's parade. After that, I'll be ready to die. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

There's a thing I've dreamed of all my life, and I'll be damned if it don't look like it's about to come true-to be King of the Zulu's parade. After that, I'll be ready to die.


Quote: I got a simple rule about everybody. If you don't treat me right -- shame on you. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

I got a simple rule about everybody. If you don't treat me right -- shame on you.


Quote: As many bands as you heard in New Orleans, that's how many bands you heard playing right. I thought I was in Heaven playing second trumpet in the Tuxedo Brass Band -- and they had some funeral marches that would just touch your heart, they were so beautiful. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

As many bands as you heard in New Orleans, that's how many bands you heard playing right. I thought I was in Heaven playing second trumpet in the Tuxedo Brass Band -- and they had some funeral marches that would just touch your heart, they were so beautiful.


Quote: And I think to myself what a wonderful world. Oh, yeah. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

And I think to myself what a wonderful world. Oh, yeah.


Quote: 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. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

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.


Quote: When you're dead, you're done. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

When you're dead, you're done.


Quote: If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don't practice for three days, the public knows it. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

If I don't practice for a day, I know it. If I don't practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don't practice for three days, the public knows it.


Quote: To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question! by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

To jazz, or not to jazz, there is no question!


Quote: You will never know what the meaning of Jazz is if ask what it means. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

You will never know what the meaning of Jazz is if ask what it means.


Quote: When you're with another tea smoker it makes you feel a special kinship. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

When you're with another tea smoker it makes you feel a special kinship.


Quote: It makes you feel good, man, makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro. It makes you feel wanted, and when you're with another tea smoker, it makes you feel a special kinship. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

It makes you feel good, man, makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro. It makes you feel wanted, and when you're with another tea smoker, it makes you feel a special kinship.


Quote: When I go to the Gate, I'll play a duet with Gabriel. Yeah, we'll play 'Sleepy Time Down South' and 'Hello, Dolly!' Then he can blow a couple that he's been playing up there all the time. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

When I go to the Gate, I'll play a duet with Gabriel. Yeah, we'll play 'Sleepy Time Down South' and 'Hello, Dolly!' Then he can blow a couple that he's been playing up there all the time.


Quote: There's only two ways to sum up music; either it's good or it's bad. If it's good you don't mess about it, you just enjoy it. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

There's only two ways to sum up music; either it's good or it's bad. If it's good you don't mess about it, you just enjoy it.






Quote: Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on.


Quote: I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world.


Quote: Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine, I look right into the heart of good old New Orleans. It has given me something to live for. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine, I look right into the heart of good old New Orleans. It has given me something to live for.


Quote: Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans. When that's where you left your heart. The moonlight on the bayou a creole tune that fills the air. I dream about magnolias in bloom and I'm wishin' I was there. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans. When that's where you left your heart. The moonlight on the bayou a creole tune that fills the air. I dream about magnolias in bloom and I'm wishin' I was there.


Quote: We don't play slow and we don't play fast, we play half fast. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

We don't play slow and we don't play fast, we play half fast.


Quote: What we play is life. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

What we play is life.


Quote: I do believe that my whole success goes back to that time I was arrested as a wayward boy at the age of thirteen. Because then I had to quit running around and began to learn something. Most of all, I began to learn music. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

I do believe that my whole success goes back to that time I was arrested as a wayward boy at the age of thirteen. Because then I had to quit running around and began to learn something. Most of all, I began to learn music.


Quote: 'Cat?' 'Cat' can be anybody from the guy in the gutter to a lawyer, doctor, the biggest man to the lowest man, but if he's in there with a good heart and enjoy the same music together, he's a cat. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

'Cat?' 'Cat' can be anybody from the guy in the gutter to a lawyer, doctor, the biggest man to the lowest man, but if he's in there with a good heart and enjoy the same music together, he's a cat.






Quote: I had a long time admiration for the Jewish people. Especially with their long time of courage, taking so much abuse for so long. I was only seven years old, but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the white folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of Louis Armstrong quote; white text on black background

I had a long time admiration for the Jewish people. Especially with their long time of courage, taking so much abuse for so long. I was only seven years old, but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the white folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for.


Quote: I never want to be anything more than I am; what I don't have, I don't need. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

I never want to be anything more than I am; what I don't have, I don't need.


Quote: When I play, maybe 'Back o' Town Blues,' I'm thinking about one of the old, low-down moments -- when maybe your woman didn't treat you right. That's a hell of a moment when a woman tell you, 'I got another mule in my stall.' by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

When I play, maybe 'Back o' Town Blues,' I'm thinking about one of the old, low-down moments -- when maybe your woman didn't treat you right. That's a hell of a moment when a woman tell you, 'I got another mule in my stall.'


Quote: The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.

Longer Version/[Notes]:

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago.


Quote: If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.


Quote: We all do 'do, re, mi,' but you have got to find the other notes yourself. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

We all do 'do, re, mi,' but you have got to find the other notes yourself.


Quote: Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

Musicians don't retire; they stop when there's no more music in them.


Quote: The first time I heard Jack Teagarden on the trombone, I had goose pimples all over. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

The first time I heard Jack Teagarden on the trombone, I had goose pimples all over.


Quote: I was determined to play my horn against all odds, and I had to sacrifice a whole lot of pleasure to do so. by author Louis Armstrong overlaid on photo of photo of author Louis Armstrong with quote

I was determined to play my horn against all odds, and I had to sacrifice a whole lot of pleasure to do so.


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