Louis Armstrong was one of the most famous musicians of the 20th century. He played trumpet, he sang, and he is considered to be one of the world's best jazz artists.
Louis (He preferred "Lew-ee", not "Lew-iss") was born in New Orleans in 1901. His grandparents had been slaves and his family was very poor. As a child, Louis would sing on street corners and do other odd jobs to earn some money. It was a hard life and landed Louis in the Colored Waifs Home for Boys for a year. While he was there, he taught himself how to play the cornet, a type of horn.
Louis loved performing and would go around New Orleans joining in with blues bands, marching bands, and even funeral parades. Soon he was playing with better bands and was noticed by Joe "King" Oliver, one of the best trumpet players at that time. King Oliver took Louis under his wing and taught him how to play the trumpet. From there, Louis went to Chicago and New York, where he forever changed the history of jazz music.
Louis Armstrong was one of the first jazz artists to perform solo, not part of a band. He had a unique rough style of singing and is said to be one of the best trumpeters of all time. He was also the first jazz artist to top the popular music charts with his hits "Hello Dolly" and "What a Wonderful World."
Louis Armstrong was well liked by everyone. He had a very broad grin and is fondly known as "Satchmo" (which is short for "Satchelmouth" referring to the size of his mouth). His other nickname was "Pops", because of his easy-going, friendly manner.
In the 1950's and 60's Louis Armstrong traveled all over the world giving concerts, appearing in films, and making records. During a trip to West Africa, "Ambassador Satch," as he was called, was greeted by more than one hundred thousand people.
Louis Armstrong died suddenly in 1971. One year later he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.