© Louis Armstrong House

© Louis Armstrong House

Louis Armstrong loved Christmas…

Coming from profound poverty, Louis didn’t experience much Christmas spirit as a kid. His amazing talent raised him and his family out of the “battle zone” in New Orleans, and with that new view of the “Wonderful World” LA developed a great love for Christmas.

Louis’ popularity and massive success allowed him to share his love for the spirit of the holiday with the world over his life; he displayed a zest for sharing the Christmas spirit through out his long career.

Robin Young and the fine folks at the Here & Now studio of NPR rolled up a wonderful 18 minute Louis/Christmas biopic — “Louis Armstrong Recordings Evoke Jazz Great At Christmas” — that highlights the Louis Armstrong at Christmastime.

The show is driven by an interview thread with the archivist/curators of the Louis Armstrong House in Queens and includes music snippets, personal recording and some interesting personal anecdotes.

Louis’s view of success…

I won’t steal the thunder form the Here & Now piece, but the most LA insightful portion of the biopic for me was how Louis Armstrong — at the peak of his career — defined success:

Ricky Riccardi (Archivist, Louis Armstrong House) on Louis’ definition of success:

“I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories. In August of 1967 Louis did two weeks in Framingham, Massachusetts, and his good buddy Jack Bradley was there and Jack tells a story that they’re in Louis’ motel room, and this is not a suite. It’s a little rundown motel on the side of the road. And Louis tells Jack, “You know, Jack? I’ve really made it.” And Jack says, “Uh, what do you mean?” And Louis says, “Anytime I’m hungry, I could walk over to the refrigerator, get an egg, and make myself something to eat. I’ve really made it.” And Jack said he had tears in his eyes. And he told him, “You know, you should have filet mignon three times a day,” and Louis just brushed him off. That was the height of his success. By this point, he had “Hello Dolly”, 35 movies, TV every week, but the fact that he can make an egg sandwich anytime he wanted, that was it. He had really made it.”

Take 18 minutes out of your Christmas day to stop over to Here & Now and listen to “Christmas with Louis” …

And Merry Christmas!