What a Wonderful World


What a Wonderful World

Infobox Single
Name =What a Wonderful World


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Artist =Louis Armstrong
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Released = January 1, 1968
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Genre = Jazz
Length = 2:17
Label = ABC Records (US)
HMV Records (UK)
Writer =George Douglas (Bob Thiele)
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"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 Armstrong and released as a single in 1968, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

History

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, optimistic tone 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.

Playings

"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 stanza before 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 Nelson for the 1996 film "Michael". A Willie Nelson version also was used for the "Don't Mess With Texas" anti-littering public 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 Ramone cover 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 4 comedy series "Chris Addison's Civilisation" and in the commercial for "Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction". The Israel Kamakawiwo'ole medly with Over the Rainbow was 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, 2001 attacks.

In recent years, the song has come to be associated with the Christmas season (although it has no holiday or seasonal content in its lyrics). In 2006, XM Satellite Radio added "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 Newsong and LeAnn Rimes. Also in 2006, a rock version appeared in the Suzuki New Grand Vitara television commercial performed by David Mills and 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 Fator performed 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".

George Huff, Anwar Robinson, & Chris Daughtry each 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

*1968 Louis Armstrong: million selling original version
*1968 Eddy Arnold: used in the 2008 Oliver Stone film "W."
*1970 Louis Armstrong with the Oliver Nelson's Orchestra, including spoken introduction
*1989 The Flaming Lips on their breakthrough album "In a Priest Driven Ambulance"
*1989 Diana Ross performed the song live, releasing it on her 4-CD set.
*1992 Shane MacGowan & Nick Cave: male duet, released as a single.
*1993 Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: Hawaiian ukulele version (medley with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") on the album "Facing Future"
*1994 Victoria Williams: on her "Loose" album.
*1995 Natalie Cole, with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras on their live Christmas album "A Celebration of Christmas Live From Vienna"
*1997 Eva Cassidy: on her album "Live at Blues Alley".
*1997 Major Organ and the Adding Machine: avant-garde cover on the compilation "Christmas in Stereo".
*1999 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.
*1999 Kenny G's rendition of the song on his album Classics in the Key of G, in a digital duet with Louis Armstrong
*2000 Donna Burke: on the soundtrack of the anime "Vandread"
*2001 Sticky Fingaz: on his album ""
*2001 Cliff Richard: (medley version with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") on his album "Wanted"
*2002 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
*2002 Tony Bennett and k. d. lang: on the album "A Wonderful World"
*2003 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.
*2004 Kenny G released a recording with his saxophone overdubbed on top of the original version
*2003 Guy Sebastian: on his debut album, "Just As I Am" (more upbeat alternative arrangement by Sebastian)
*2003 Sarah Brightman: on her album "Harem"
*2004 Rod Stewart & Stevie Wonder: on Stewart's album ""
*2004 Michael Buble: on his album "Babalu"
*2004 Celine Dion: on her album "A New Day... Live in Las Vegas" and "Miracle"
*2004 LeAnn Rimes: on her album "What a Wonderful World"
*2005 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"
*2005 Punkreas: a satirical, italian adapted cover for the album "Quello Che Sei". Excluded from the final album due to copyright problems.
*2006 Coco d'Or: on her album "Coco d'Or 2"
*2006 David Mills & Ian Wilson Suzuki Grand Vitara advertisement
*2006 John Legend recorded his version for his Christmas album.
*2007 Lesley Garrett recorded her own version for her album "When I Fall in Love"
*2007 Angels & Airwaves: played live at the Windows Vista launch
*2007 Mika Nakashima: on her album "YES"
*2007 Keane: on the B-Sides album "Little Broken Words"
*2007 Stacey Kent: on her album "Breakfast on the Morning Tram"
*2007 Paolo Nutini: at Live Earth.
*2007 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.
*2007 Rome Apart: on their album Others.
*2007 Eason Chan: on his live album Eason's Moving On Stage 1.
*2007 Synthetik FM covered 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"
*2008 Dr. John: NBA All Star Weekend

References

External links

* [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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