Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong

Twenty Songs That Changed The World

I’ve spent the past few weeks listening to a Canadian radio series each morning, as I eat my oatmeal. The onset of old age aside, I’d thoroughly recommend the series, all 20 episodes, each recounting a different song that “changed the world.”

All 20 have their merits. Bob Dylan going electric is a must, and listening to two 60-year old white men discuss Public Enemy is a particular treat. Also of note: why you can’t help but move when you sing “some day” in “We Shall Overcome,” why Louis Armstrong’s notes keep going higher, and why you should have a drink during the Star Spangled Banner.

The applicability of the title phrase to each song is obviously problematic. Most of the time, the more appropriate idea seems to be “changed the world of music,” though the hosts go to lengths to try to apply it. If you’re willing to allow that music, generally, is an incredible influence on culture, and culture impacts the flow of human events, and that some individual songs are more influential then others, then, well…color me partially convinced.

All twenty episodes, and a Christmas special, are here.

(Via Kottke)

Wynton on Bball

Wynton Marsalis talks basketball with William Rhoden at The New York Times in this video. The whole thing, all 4 minutes of it, is worth an enjoyable look. At one point, he talks about the difference between the history of musicians and athletes (rough transcription):

The arts deal with the human soul. A person can arrive at any time in any art form and be the most advanced. No one has taken the art further than Homer, or Shakespeare, or Louis Armstrong. No one’s going to play better than him. You can bring your own thing. But great art doesn’t become old…Athletes can beat the opponents of their era. Musicians speak across epochs. Louis Armstrong wasn’t trying to beat anybody.