Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of Louis Armstrong quotes and sayings on music, life, giving, heart, inspiration, jazz, need, business, nature, balance etc.

81 Thoughtful Quotes By Louis Armstrong

Famous As: Trumpeter
Born On: August 4, 1901
Died On: July 6, 1971
Born In: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died At Age: 69

Louis Armstrong was a legendary American music composer, singer and sporadic actor. He was renowned for exploring different avenues in the Jazz genre. With a career spanning over five decades, Armstrong reinvented the wheel with new methods of blowing the trumpet and cornet. Armstrong received wide acceptance even while bending a few rules and notion of lyrical music to incorporate his style, with his signature gravelly voice and charismatic on stage persona. During the twilight of his career, he expanded his horizons into various genres of music such as Dixieland, swing and traditional pop. Louis Armstrong (nicknamed as Satchmo or Pops), will be forever remembered as the first African-American to break the shackles of race and origin. Though, he never politicized the racial agenda in his work, he was quite vocal during desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. This Grammy Hall of Famer was awarded with Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. We have compiled some of his most notable quotes from his observations, views, interviews etc. Read through these quotes illustrating the thinking of this legendary African American composer.

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

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

Don't do nothing halfway, else you find yourself dropping more than can be picked up.

Louis Armstrong

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? They ain't so wonderful either.' But how about listening to old Pops for a minute. It seems to me it ain't the world that's so bad, but what we're doing 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 other, we'd solve lots more problems. And man, this world would be a gasser.

Louis Armstrong

My whole life, my whole soul, my whole spirit is to blow that horn.

Louis Armstrong

Making money ain't nothing exciting to me. You might be able to buy a little better booze than the wino on the corner. But you get sick just like the next cat and when you die you're just as graveyard dead as he is.

Louis Armstrong

A lotta cats copy the Mona Lisa, but people still line up to see the original.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics dope and all of that stuff. It is a thousand times better than whiskey. It is an assistant and a friend.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

Unless you know what it is I ain't never going to be able to explain it to you.

Louis Armstrong

There is no such thing as 'on the way out' as long as you are still doing something interesting and good; you're in the business because you're breathing.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

Each man has his own music bubbling up inside him.

Louis Armstrong

What we play is life.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

I'll bet right now most of the youngsters and hot club fans who hear the name Storyville hasn't the least idea that it consisted of some of the biggest prostitutes in the world ... Standing in their doorways nightly in their fine and beautiful negligees -- faintly calling to the boys as they passed their cribs.

Louis Armstrong

I don't let my mouth say nothin' my head can't stand....

Louis Armstrong

Seems to me it ain't the world that's so bad but what we're doing 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.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

You got to love to be able to play

Louis Armstrong

The Brick House was one of the toughest joints I ever played in ... Guys would drink and fight one another like circle saws. Bottles would come flying over the bandstand like crazy and there was lots of plain common shooting and cutting. But somehow all that jive didn't faze me at all. I was so happy to have some place to blow my horn.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

Not too slow, not too fast. Kind of like half-fast.

Louis Armstrong

The best I can do is stay happy.

Louis Armstrong

There are Two Secrets to Success: 1. Don't tell ANYONE Everything you know 2.If you have to ask what Jazz is, you'll never know.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

‎We all go Do, Re, Mi, but you've gotta find all the other notes yourself.

Louis Armstrong

If you have to ask what jazz is you will never know." Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

My life has always been my music, it's always come first, but the music ain't worth nothing if you can't lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, 'cause what you're there for is to please the people.

Louis Armstrong

There's some folks, that, if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

Louis Armstrong

I'm a spade, you're an ofay. Let's play.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

You've got to be good or as bad as the devil.

Louis Armstrong

When you're dead, you're done.

Louis Armstrong

Even If I have two three days off, you still have to blow that horn. You have to keep up those chops... I have to warm up everyday for at least an hour.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell them.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

Love is talkative passion.

Louis Armstrong

I don't need words. It's all in the phrasing.

Louis Armstrong

All them weird chords which don't mean a thing...you got no melody to remember, and no beat to dance to

Louis Armstrong

There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

Louis Armstrong

If ya ain't got it in ya, ya can't blow it out.

Louis Armstrong

Man, if you have to ask what it [jazz] is, you’ll never know.

Louis Armstrong

Never play a thing the same way twice.

Louis Armstrong

It's America's classical music ... this becomes our tradition ... the bottom line of any country in the world is what did we contribute to the world? ... we contributed Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

[Bebop is] Chinese music.

Louis Armstrong

Never play anything the same way twice.

Louis Armstrong

The Bright Blessed Day, the Dark Sacred Night

Louis Armstrong

I don't get involved in politics. I just blow my horn.

Louis Armstrong

What a wonderful world.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

What is Jazz? Dude, if you have to ask, you'll never know.

Louis Armstrong

You see, pops, that's the kind of talk that's ruining the music. Everyone's trying to do something new, no one trying to learn the fundamentals first. All them young cats playing their wierd chords. And what happens? No one's working.

Louis Armstrong

Music is either good or bad, and it's got to be learned. You got to have balance.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

You blows who you is.

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

A lot of the musicians asked me if when I hit my high-Cs on the records I had a clarinet take the notes. Some [thought] I had invented some kind of gadget so I could play high register. They weren't satisfied until they handed me a trumpet that they had with them and had me swing it. Then they cheered.

Louis Armstrong

I spent nine days in the Downtown Los Angeles City Jail. The judge gave me a suspended sentence and I went to work that night - wailed just like nothing happened. What strucked me funny though - I laughed real loud when several movie stars came up to the bandstand while we played a dance set and told me, when they heard about me getting caught with marijuana, they thought marijuana was a chick. Woo boy - that really fractured me!

Louis Armstrong

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.

Louis Armstrong

When I was young and very green, I worte that tune, Sister Kate, and someone said that's fine, let me publish it for you. I'll give you fifty dollars. I didn't know nothing about papers, and business, and I sold it outright.

Louis Armstrong

It ain't whatcha say, it's the way howcha say it.

Louis Armstrong

I've Got the World on a String,

Louis Armstrong

If you don't understand it, don't mess with it.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

If you still have to ask, shame on you

Louis Armstrong

It's getting almost so bad a colored man hasn't got any country.

Louis Armstrong

I had a chance to play with the best musicians that were coming through because I was pretty good myself or else they wouldn't have tolerated with me.

Louis Armstrong

Jazz is what I play for a living.

Louis Armstrong

Red beans and ricely yours.

Louis Armstrong

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

Louis Armstrong

As a youngster in the little orphanage home in New Orleans, I was the bugler of the institution. When I got to be around 13 or 14 years old, they took me off the bugle and put me in the little brass band.

Louis Armstrong