Hello, Dolly!

Album: Hello, Dolly! (1964)
Charted: 4 1

Songfacts®:

  • "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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above
  • 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."

Comments: 9

  • Anita Compton from Colorado Springswhat did louis armstrong get paid for hello dolly
  • L.russell Brown from Tennessee My mentor Bob Crewe once told me Jerry Herman told him he was writing a musical and he purposely was going to use the melody of Mack David's song Sunflower for his theme HELLO DOLLY He told Bob he intended to pay the other writer off once the play was a great hit AND HE DID 200 000$ A pittance compared to the untold millions Herman made from Hello Dolly! What a dirty business this music biz is
  • Howard Luloff from St. Louis Park, MnWhen this song was number one in 1964, WABC, the Top 40 powerhouse in New York played the song once very hour, angering nighttime DJ Scott Muni. he said to program director Rick Sklar "Get that song off my show." Sklar wouldn't deviate from his strict playlist so that led to Muni's departure and the emergence of Cousin Brucie as a New York institution when he replaced Muni. Other than that, Hello Dolly was one of the few non Beatle songs to top the charts that year and it would be the only number one for Louis Armstrong. A great song from a jazz great.
  • Fred Gray from VirginiaThe lyrics were copied from the Louis Armstring recording, and as such the second line is not "This is miss Dolly" but "This is Louis, Dolly".
    Louis Armstrong name is often misprinounced as "Looie" but he insisted it was to be pronouced "Loo-iss."
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyJerry Herman, born Gerald Sheldon Herman, passed away at the age of 88 on December 26th, 2019 in Miami, Florida...
    He was the composer of "Hello Dolly!", on May 3rd, 1964 Louis Armstrong's covered version of the song peaked at #1 on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Mr. Herman was nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'La Cage aux Folles'...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 16th 1964, the original Broadway production of the musical 'Hello Dolly!' opened at the St. James Theater in New York City...
    The musical ran for 2,844 performances and won a total of thirteen* Tony Awards...
    Twenty-four days later on February 9th, 1964 Louis Armstrong's covered version entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart {See next post below}...
    * Was nominated for fourteen awards; poor Charles Nelson Reilly, he was nominated for 'Best Performance by a Featured Actor', but lost to Jack Cassidy for the play 'She Loves Me'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 9th 1964, "Hello, Dolly!" by Louis Armstrong entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and on May 3rd it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 13 of those 22 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on March 22nd, 1964 it reached #1 (for 9 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    As already stated prior to "Hello, Dolly!" reaching #1 on the Top 100 the Beatles had held the top spot for fourteen consecutive weeks with three records ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" for 7 weeks, "She Loves You" for 2 weeks, and finally "Can't Buy Me Love" for 5 weeks)...
    And it was a Beatles' record, "Do You Want To Know A Secret", that peaked at #2 and was prevented from reaching #1 when "Hello, Dolly!" held the top spot for its one week...
    R.I.P. John, George, and Mr. Armstrong (1901 - 1971).
  • Karen from Dania Beach, FlJust re-read William Lashner's mystery "Fatal Flaw" in which the fact that the murder trial defendant's story that he is listening to Satchmo comes into significance twice. Once it addresses volume (What can you really hear with Louis Armstrong in the headphones?) and, even better, to state of mind (Can you be anything but optimistic in said situation?) Lots of fun.
  • Chet from Buffalo, NyOne of my favorite facts about this song is how unlikely it was for a song like this to be the one to knock the Beatles out of their stranglehold of the top of the charts in 1964. After ruling the number one spot for something like 14 weeks with 3 different hits, ol' Satchmo knocked "Can't Buy Me Love" out of the number one spot in early May and made "musical history"!
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