What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong (1967)

Here is an adaptation with the Ukulele of one of Louis Armstrong’s iconic hits. Composed and written by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss for Louis Armstrong in 1967: What A Wonderful World.

In 2001, after the attacks of September 11, this song was part of a list of 150 tracks unfit for broadcast on American radio. As a result of what, this melody comes back to me regularly in moments of heavy topicality.

Why this song.

I see trees so green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

It is April 16, 2022. The war in Ukraine seems to be settling down with all that is sordid. Also, in France, we are between two rounds of a hopeless presidential election, with, as a bonus, the fear of seeing the country tip over into the most medieval obscurantism.

So, like a glimmer of hope, a sun in the grey: Louis Armstrong’s voice hums me this song.
A walk, watching the children grow up, watching trees and a little greenery. That’s what the song tells me. On the one hand, it is crazy to see how much the energy of men is expended in unmaking this simplicity. On the other hand, it is crazy to see how much it is enough to do nothing to touch happiness. So just be.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

What a wonderful world
Bois de Vincennes, April 16, 2022

Music.

Like many standards, What A Wonderful World is a theme of 32 measures. In fact, we have a form in AABA with A and B sentences, which each make 8 measurements.

In F major, it emanates from this melody something both lyrical and ample.
But I must admit that it is the voice of Louis Armstrong that I have in mind when I play this melody. No matter the arrangement, no matter the instrument.
Indeed, this voice alone justifies the invention of the gramophone!
Maybe most of the music is based on that voice?

Score and tablature.

If you like, my adaptation’s score and tablature are available in pdf format under this text.

This is non-commercial sharing.