- What a Wonderful World
Name =What a Wonderful World
Cover size =
January 1, 1968
Genre = Jazz
Length = 2:17
ABC Records(US) HMV Records(UK)
Writer =George Douglas (
Audio sample? =
Last single =
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Misc = "What a Wonderful World" is a song by
Bob Thiele(using the pseudonym George Douglas) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrongand released as a single in 1968, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate in the
U.S.(and written specifically for Armstrong, who had broad crossover appeal), the song details the singer's delight in the simple enjoyment of everyday life. The song also has a hopeful, optimistictone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to. The song was not initially a hit in the United States, where it sold fewer than 1,000 copies, but was a major success in the UK, reaching number one on the UK singles chart. It was also the biggest-selling single of 1968 in the UK. The song made Louis Armstrong the oldest male to top the charts, at sixty-six years and ten months old.
The opening lyrics read:
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 song gradually became something of a standard and reached a new level of popularity. It was re-released in America shortly after Armstrong's death in 1971 and became a top ten hit. In 1988 Louis Armstrong's 1968 recording was featured in the film "
Good Morning Vietnam" and was rereleased as a single. The single charted at number one for the fortnight ending 27 June 1988 on the Australian charts. It is also a jazz standard ranked number 945 at Jazzstandards.com.
"What a Wonderful World" was used ironically in 1978 radio broadcast of the last episode of "
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" "(first series)." The song replaced the usual end credits as the two main characters, stranded on pre-history Earth, lament its destruction witnessed in the first episode. The song was later used for the closing titles of the corresponding television episode, and in the first teaser for the "Hitchhiker's" film, lasting only one stanzabefore the Earth explodes.
In 1985 a part of the song was used in "
The Runner" (Davandeh), a famous Iranian movie. It was included in the soundtrack for the film " Good Morning, Vietnam" in 1987. In the film, the song plays over a montage of bombings and other violence (similar to the use of the song "We'll Meet Again" in the film ""). This use of the song in an ironic way has since become something of a cliché in film and television.
The song was featured as the theme for the first season of the popular 1990s sitcom "Family Matters". It was also used in the film "
Meet Joe Black", " Without a Paddle", " Twelve Monkeys", and the show "Scrubs", in the episode " My Butterfly"."What a Wonderful World" in the show was sung by The Ramones. It was sung by Willie Nelsonfor the 1996 film "Michael". A Willie Nelson version also was used for the " Don't Mess With Texas" anti- litteringpublic service announcement campaign.
The Louis Armstrong version was also used during a sequence in
Michael Moore's film " Bowling for Columbine", where it accompanies scenes of violence in a montage about United States intervention in international affairs, as well as having the Joey Ramonecover playing over the ending credits. In the 2005 film, "Madagascar" it appears as a background song for a scene where, ironically, various cute animals are eaten by other animals living on the "Wonderful World". On the program "Pirate Radio" (airing in Nashville, Tennessee, 1999-2001), an acoustic guitar version was used weekly as a music bed. It has also been used ironically as the theme music to the BBC series " A Life of Grime", and as the closing theme to one series of " Grumpy Old Men", in a version performed by the cast of the programme. The Louis Armstrong version was used also in the 2004 Japanese film " Swing Girls" during a scene where the main characters are chased by a wild boar. It was also used in the show " House", in the episode DNR. It also featured in the sixth episode of the BBC/Kudos 1973-set crime drama, "Life on Mars". The Joey Ramone cover was also played over the ending credits of the BBC Radio 4comedy series "Chris Addison's Civilisation" and in the commercial for "Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction". The Israel Kamakawiwo'olemedly with Over the Rainbowwas featured in the films " Finding Forrester" and " 50 First Dates".
Clear Channel included "What a Wonderful World" on a list of songs that might be inappropriate for airplay in the period just after the
September 11, 2001attacks.
In recent years, the song has come to be associated with the
Christmasseason (although it has no holiday or seasonal content in its lyrics). In 2006, XM Satellite Radioadded "What a Wonderful World" to its Holiday/Christmas rotation, as did many terrestrial radio stations in the U.S. Numerous recording artists have covered the song for inclusion on their Christmas-themed albums, including Newsongand LeAnn Rimes. Also in 2006, a rock version appeared in the Suzuki New Grand Vitara television commercial performed by David Millsand Ian Wilson.
A version can be found on the dance simulation game "
Dance Dance Revolution SuperNova". This version is by "Beatbox vs DJ Miko". Terry Fatorperformed this with his turtle, Winston, partly a Kermit version, partly a Louis Armstrong version, on " America's Got Talent". [http://www.buddytv.com/articles/americas-got-talent/profile/terry-fator.aspx]
It was used in a commercial advertising "" using Joey Ramone's cover.
The orchestrated Louis Armstrong version was used at the happy ending of "Madaline".
Anwar Robinson, & Chris Daughtryeach performed the song on " American Idol". Nick Lachey's Cincinnati-based team of singers performed a version of the song during the " Clash of the Choirs" season finale in 2007.
This song was used at the start of "
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay".
elected list of recorded versions
Louis Armstrong: million selling original version
Eddy Arnold: used in the 2008 Oliver Stonefilm "W."
Louis Armstrongwith the Oliver Nelson's Orchestra, including spoken introduction
The Flaming Lipson their breakthrough album " In a Priest Driven Ambulance"
Diana Rossperformed the song live, releasing it on her 4-CD set.
Shane MacGowan& Nick Cave: male duet, released as a single.
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: Hawaiian ukuleleversion (medley with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") on the album " Facing Future"
Victoria Williams: on her "Loose" album.
Natalie Cole, with Placido Domingoand Jose Carrerason their live Christmas album "A Celebration of Christmas Live From Vienna"
Eva Cassidy: on her album "Live at Blues Alley".
Major Organ and the Adding Machine: avant-garde cover on the compilation "Christmas in Stereo".
Anne Murray: on her album "What a Wonderful World", which sold an estimated 2.5 million worldwide. It went #1 Contemporary Christian, #4 Country and #38 Pop on the US Billboard charts. It also spawned a book and DVD. The album was re-released in 2008 as a 14-song set.
Kenny G's rendition of the song on his album Classics in the Key of G, in a digital duet with Louis Armstrong
Donna Burke: on the soundtrack of the anime" Vandread"
Sticky Fingaz: on his album ""
Cliff Richard: (medley version with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") on his album " Wanted"
Joey Ramone: on his posthumous solo album, " Don't Worry About Me" (recorded just weeks before he died) was recently used in a TV commercial for
Tony Bennettand k. d. lang: on the album " A Wonderful World"
B.B. King: on his album of covered R&B standards, " Reflections"
*2004 Ghoul: Death Metal version on the album
Maniaxe, with lyrics perverted as an observation of Nuclear war.
Kenny Greleased a recording with his saxophone overdubbed on top of the original version
Guy Sebastian: on his debut album, "Just As I Am" (more upbeat alternative arrangement by Sebastian)
Sarah Brightman: on her album "Harem"
Rod Stewart& Stevie Wonder: on Stewart's album ""
Michael Buble: on his album "Babalu"
Celine Dion: on her album " A New Day... Live in Las Vegas" and "Miracle"
LeAnn Rimes: on her album "What a Wonderful World"
The Meads of Asphodel: a cynical cover version featured on the album "Damascus Steel".
*2005 TNT: hard rock version on the album "
All the Way to the Sun"
Punkreas: a satirical, italian adapted cover for the album "Quello Che Sei". Excluded from the final album due to copyrightproblems.
Coco d'Or: on her album "Coco d'Or 2"
David Mills& Ian WilsonSuzuki Grand Vitara advertisement
John Legendrecorded his version for his Christmas album.
Lesley Garrettrecorded her own version for her album "When I Fall in Love"
Angels & Airwaves: played live at the Windows Vista launch
Mika Nakashima: on her album "YES"
*2007 Keane: on the B-Sides album "
Little Broken Words"
Stacey Kent: on her album " Breakfast on the Morning Tram"
Paolo Nutini: at Live Earth.
Katie Melua: singing with Eva Cassidy's version to raise money for the Red Cross. This version also reached #1 in the UK charts in December 2007.
Rome Apart: on their album Others.
Eason Chan: on his live album Eason's Moving On Stage 1.
Synthetik FMcovered this song on the synthpop album "e=mc²" on Ninthwave Records[ [http://www.ninthwaverecords.com/nw.nsf/artists?readform&id=SynthetikFM#ancTBA4 Synthetik FM "e=mc²"] ,www.ninthwaverecords.com]
*2008 Ministry: on their cover album "Cover Up"
Dr. John: NBA All Star Weekend
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEw3UatlDp0 Louis Armstrong doing Joey Ramone's version.]
*imdb name|id=1176718|name=Bob Thiele page and listing of piece used in visual media.
*imdb name|id=0918993|name=George Weiss page and listing of piece used in visual media.
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Look at other dictionaries:
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