This Day in Black History: Feb. 21, 1949

Louis Armstrong becomes first jazz artist to appear on the cover of TIME magazine.

Posted: 02/21/2014 12:00 AM EST

Nicknamed "Satchmo," Louis Armstrong was a prominent jazz musician. On Feb. 21, 1949, he was celebrated on the cover of TIME magazine and became the first jazz musician to accomplish this. On the cover, Armstrong is flashing his signature smile and crowned with shining trumpets on his head, his signature instrument. 

By this point in history, the New Orleans-native career was widely celebrated and had crossed over into the mainstream music world despite discrimination toward African-American performers at the time. The musician's most famous song was "What a Wonderful World," released in 1967, a record that was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Armstrong recorded more than a dozen studio albums in his career. Before his death, he performed and toured in Africa, Europe and Asia under sponsorship of the U.S. State Department. In July 1971, the great musician died in his sleep in Queens, New York.


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(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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