Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Hello, Dolly!Released: 1964Charted:
"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song from the Tony Award-winning 1964 musical which featured Carol Channing in the lead role. In 1969 it was made into a film starring Barbra Streisand. Although the contemporary score was composed in its entirety by Jerry Herman, the play can be traced in one form or another as far back as 1835, in outline at least. In spite of the immediate success of the stage production, the song was released as a single only reluctantly. In its May 23, 1964 edition, the English music paper Melody Maker carried an article "HELLO DOLLY! The hit no one wanted," which included an interview with Louis Armstrong. Herein it was revealed that although the song had reached #1 in the US charts selling more than a million copies, no one wanted to record it. In retrospect, Satchmo was an obvious choice.
The song won a Grammy for best vocal performance. It was recorded on Kapp by Armstrong and his "All Stars"; the B Side was "A Lot Of Lovin' To Do." Five years later, Satchmo appeared in the film version where he dueted with Streisand.
The sheet music for "Hello, Dolly!" was published by Edwin H. Morris & Co of New York, Copyright 1963 at 75c. There are a number of other printings and arrangements, including HELLO, DOLLY! Recorded by Louis Armstrong on London Records which retailed for 2s6d, and a full arrangement for orchestra by Jimmy Lally at 4s6d.
The 62-year-old Armstrong became the oldest act to top the US charts when this reached #1. Four years later Satchmo also became the oldest artist to record a UK #1 when "What A Wonderful World
" hit the top spot.
When Armstrong was asked about his new #1 song, he replied, "It sure feels good to be up there with those Beatles."
This was quite an accomplishment, as Beatlemania was running rampant and the Fab 4 were at the top of the chart the previous 14 weeks, first with "I Want To Hold Your Hand
," followed by "She Loves You
" and "Can't Buy Me Love
." Armstrong became the first American artist to knock the group out of the top spot.
This song was also a #18 hit for English singer Frankie Vaughan in the UK in 1964.
Carol Channing appeared on Sesame Street in 1984, serenading Sammy the Snake with a parody of this song called "Hello, Sammy!"
Mack David, a lyricist and composer known for his work on Disney films like Alice In Wonderland and Cinderella, filed a copyright infringement suit against Herman, alleging the first four bars of "Dolly" were the same as those in his 1948 tune "Sunflower." Herman maintained that he never even heard "Sunflower" before, but agreed to pay a $200,000 settlement so the film's release wouldn't be delayed. He told the New York Daily News in 1998: "I didn't mean to use six notes that sounded like some other song. I need to copy somebody else's song like I need another nostril."
While writing the tune about Dolly's triumphant return to New York's social scene, the songwriter recalled the 1940 movie Lillian Russell, which features a scene with star Alice Faye singing with waiters. The names Harry and Manny used the lyrics are personal for Herman. "Harry was my father and Manny was my uncle," he explained. "Later, I threw in Louis, another uncle. I used everybody in my family."