Louis Armstrong’s ‘Hello, Dolly!’: Chart Rewind, 1964 SuperNayr

On the Billboard Sizzling 100 dated Could 9, 1964, Louis Armstrong ended essentially the most dominant run at No. 1 within the chart’s historical past to that time.

The Beatles had dominated the Sizzling 100 for 14 consecutive weeks, by way of three singles in a row, neither feat of which had beforehand been achieved: Their landmark U.S. breakthrough hit “I Need To Maintain Your Hand” started a seven-week reign on the Feb. 1, 1964-dated chart, adopted by two weeks on high for “She Loves You” and a five-week No. 1 keep for “Can’t Purchase Me Love,” by way of the rating dated that Could 2.

The next body, amid The Beatles-led British Invasion, famed New Orleans-born trumpeter and vocalist Armstrong’s “Howdy, Dolly!” rose to No. 1. The title track from the hit musical was written by Jerry Herman and produced by Michael Kapp. It went on to win track of the 12 months and finest vocal efficiency, male on the Grammy Awards in 1965, whereas Armstrong’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame in 2001.

Regardless of The Beatles’ onslaught of hits on the time, Armstrong’s Sizzling 100 conquest with “Howdy, Dolly!” had momentum thanks largely to its dad or mum musical.

As researched in-depth by Grammy Award-winning writer and Armstrong historian (and musician) Ricky Riccardi for a 2021 piece, “Howdy, Dolly! Opens; Critics Toss Hats” a headline learn within the Jan. 25, 1964, Billboard subject. “The critics flipped,” the story famous. “‘Don’t trouble holding onto your hats,’ mentioned Walter Kerr in The Herald Tribune, ‘since you received’t be needing them. You’d solely be throwing them into the air. A musical comedy dream.’ ”

Per Riccardi, Arvell Shaw, who performed bass with Armstrong, informed documentarian Ken Burns, “Three or 4 months [after “Hello, Dolly!” was recorded], we had been out on the highway [in early 1964] doing one-nighters in Nebraska and Iowa, manner, manner out. And each evening we’d hear from the viewers, ‘Howdy, Dolly!,’ ‘Howdy, Dolly!’ The primary couple of nights Louis ignored it, and it obtained louder … ‘Howdy, Dolly!’ Louis checked out me and mentioned, ‘What the hell is ‘Howdy, Dolly!’?’ We needed to get the music and be taught it and put it within the live performance. The primary time we put it in, pandemonium broke out. We had been up to now out he didn’t even notice he had an enormous hit.”

“Howdy, Dolly!” entered the Sizzling 100 dated Feb. 15, 1964, when “I Need To Maintain Your Hand” was No. 1 and the usually copy-heavy entrance web page of the problem and confirmed The Beatles behind Billboard’s emblem, above three tales dedicated to the band. (“U.S. Rocks & Reels From Beatles’ Invasion,” learn the primary headline.)

Famous Riccardi, Armstrong drew front-page Billboard ink of his personal per week later in a narrative headlined “Broadway Lights Up Labels; Diskers Purpose for Peak 12 months.” “The music and drama of Broadway is making stable influence on the file firm scene this season,” Mike Gross wrote. “Not for the reason that heyday of My Honest Woman have the diskers seemed to Broadway product with such bullish attitudes.”

As “Howdy, Dolly!” scaled the Sizzling 100, Armstrong additional realized its influence. Riccardi sourced a narrative by columnist Jimmy Breslin quoting Armstrong: “Folks preserve coming as much as me about ‘Dolly’ and sayin’, ‘You’re doing all proper. You’re promoting data proper behind The Beatles.’ I’m with The Beatles. Music is music. There’s all types. But it surely all come from the identical place. All of it come from outdated, sanctified church buildings. I don’t care how they modify it … outdated, sanctified church buildings is the essence of it.”

By mid-April 1964, based on Riccardi, Armstrong informed Newsweek of his impending Sizzling 100 No. 1, “I like that tune. It’s obtained a great feeling, it’s a great, completely happy one.” Of its recording, he mentioned, “We didn’t haven’t any association or nothin’. We simply scat out our elements. I performed it the best way I’m, Satchmo’s manner. The folks don’t overlook that outdated beat. They know the essence, and it’s Satchmo.”

As for the acts then occupying the Sizzling 100’s higher reaches, added Armstrong (whom Ed Sullivan praised in a Could 15, 1964, New York Every day Information column for “that well-known gravel-velvet voice”), “It’s terrible good to be there amongst all them Beatles.”

The Beatles, in the meantime, reciprocated, Riccardi identified, by enjoying a little bit of “Howdy, Dolly!” – on kazoo – in a 1964 vacation message.

Chart Rewind


Past its notable journey to No. 1 on the Sizzling 100, “Howdy, Dolly!” made historical past for Armstrong, who at 62 grew to become essentially the most senior artist to steer the listing. The mark stood till final December, when Brenda Lee, then 78, jingled to No. 1 with “Rockin’ Across the Christmas Tree” (though she was 13 when she recorded the carol, initially launched in 1958).

Plus, by dethroning The Beatles after 14 weeks atop the Sizzling 100, Armstrong put a cease to the longest steady command for an act within the chart’s historical past to that time, one which stood solely till 1993, when Whitney Houston tied it, by way of “I Will All the time Love You.” Boyz II Males surpassed the mark with a 16-week No. 1 run in 1994, whereas The Black Eyed Peas at present maintain the file: 26 consecutive weeks, due to “Growth Growth Pow” (12 weeks) and “I Gotta Feeling” (12) in 2009.

Following the reign of “Howdy, Dolly!,” Armstrong remained distinguished on Billboard’s charts. The track’s dad or mum album of the identical identify topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks starting in June 1964, whereas he added two extra Sizzling 100 entries that 12 months.

“Howdy, Dolly!” additionally grew to become Armstrong’s first of 5 Grownup Modern high 10s, ruling for 9 weeks – with “What a Fantastic World” reaching No. 7, in addition to No. 32 on the Sizzling 100, in 1988, the 1967 recording revived due to its highlight within the field workplace hit Good Morning, Vietnam. In 1999, a remake of the latter track by Kenny G that includes Armstrong hit No. 22 on Grownup Modern.

Armstrong, who died in July 1971, has moreover logged 12 high 10s on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart. Most lately, his retrospective Gold hit No. 7 this March, with its 40-song tracklist together with “Howdy, Dolly!”

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