76+ Best Louis Armstrong Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Louis Daniel Armstrong, nicknamed “Satchmo”, “Satch”, and “Pops”, was an American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor who was among the most influential figures in jazz. Profoundly inspirational Louis Armstrong quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for the best quotes from musicians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes by Nina Simone, best Luke Bryan quotes and greatest Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes.

Famous Louis Armstrong Quotes

Bebop is a Chinese music. – Louis Armstrong

Musicians in my day had nicknames. My name was Satchel Mouth, like a doctor’s satchel. When I went to England this fellow was strictly English, and he was editor of the newspaper there. He shook my hand after I got off the train and said, Hello, Satchmo. So right away my trombone player said, Mmm, the man thinks you have mo’ mouth than Satchel Mouth. So I was stuck with it, and it turned out all right. – Louis Armstrong

I’ve Got the World on a String. – Louis Armstrong

It ain’t whatcha say, it’s the way howcha say it. – Louis Armstrong

All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song. – 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? That aint so wonderful either. Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. 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, yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we’d solve lots more problems. And then this world would be a gasser. – Louis Armstrong

You got to love to be able to play – Louis Armstrong

Jazz is what I play for a living. – Louis Armstrong

You’ve got to be good or as bad as the devil. – Louis Armstrong

We all do ‘do, re, mi,’ but you have got to find the other notes yourself. – Louis Armstrong

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

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

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

When you’re dead, you’re done. – 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

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

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

Music is either good or bad, and it’s got to be learned. You got to have balance. – Louis Armstrong

The best I can do is stay happy. – Louis Armstrong

Never play anything the same way twice. – Louis Armstrong

It’s getting almost so bad a colored man hasn’t got any country. – 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 blows who you is. – Louis Armstrong

If you don’t understand it, don’t mess with it. – Louis Armstrong

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

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

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

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

We don’t play slow and we don’t play fast, we play half fast. – Louis Armstrong

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

I don’t let my mouth say nothin’ my head can’t stand. – Louis Armstrong

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

I’m a spade, you’re an ofay. Let’s play. – Louis Armstrong

Love is talkative passion. – 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

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

White folks still in the lead. – 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

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

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

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

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

When I was young and very green, I wrote 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

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

I got a simple rule about everybody. If you don’t treat me right – shame on you. – Louis Armstrong

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

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… – Louis Armstrong

Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them. – Louis Armstrong

I don’t get involved in politics. I just blow my horn. – Louis Armstrong

What we play is life. – Louis Armstrong

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. – Louis Armstrong

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

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

If you still have to ask, shame on you. – Louis Armstrong

Unless you know what it is I ain’t never going to be able to explain it to you. – Louis Armstrong

Red beans and ricely yours. – Louis Armstrong

Each man has his own music bubbling up inside him. – 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

If ya ain’t got it in ya, ya can’t blow it out. – Louis Armstrong

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

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

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

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

All them weird chords which don’t mean a thing…you got no melody to remember, and no beat to dance to – Louis Armstrong

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky Are also on the faces of people goin’ by I see friends shaking hands saying, how do you do They’re really saying I love you. I hear babies cry, I watch then 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! – 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

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

Don’t do nothing halfway, else you find yourself dropping more than can be picked up. – Louis Armstrong

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