What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

(Words and Music by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele)

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

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ “How do you do?”
They’re really saying “I love you”

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Oh yeah

What a Wonderful World was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released in 1967 as a single, which topped the pop charts in the United Kingdom

Intended as an antidote for the racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States (– in the late 60s, everyone was looking for respite from domestic and international tensions. assassinations, race riots, the war in Vietnam -)  the song had a hopeful, optimistic tone about the future. George Weiss (who later helped create the international hit “The lion Sleeps tonight”) said that he wrote the song specifically for Armstrong, inspired by his ability to bring people of different races together.

The song was not initially a success in America, because the boss of ABC Records did not like it, so he did not promote it until it became a hit in the United Kingdom. The song made Armstrong the oldest male to top the UK Singles Chart, at the age of sixty-six. His record was broken in 2009 by 68-year- old Tom Jones

This song was more appreciated 20 years later when it was used in the Robin Williams movie Good Morning, Vietnam.

It is one of the songs that have impacted society, that have stood the test of time Great songs have longevity, are trans-generational, can be rendered by various artists and each time seem fresh and new.

The phrase “What a Wonderful World” is repeated several  times throughout the song to emphasize the fact that even though there is much hatred and violence within the world, it is still beautiful and there is always the chance for us to stop the pain and make life peaceful again.

By the mid-1960s Louis Armstrong was already a music legend, having been one of the paramount names of American jazz since the 1920s.  Known for his trumpet playing and irrepressible smile, by the 1960s he had compiled a long list of hits, and was considered a jazz innovator.

But 1968 in the U.S. was a very tumultuous year, with racial and political disorder added to the Vietnam War.  It was also a presidential election year.  Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated that spring and summer, and there was growing civil and racial unrest with urban riots and Vietnam War protests. Some thought Armstrong’s song could be a positive remedy for the troubled world of 1968.

Armstrong’s appeal extended to all races, and wanted to be heard in the country to promote a sense of hope and optimism.  He loved the song and performed it everywhere, including numerous television appearances, and its popularity began to grow

 

 

 

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