EVERY UK NUMBER ONE SONG: ‘What a Wonderful World’/’Cabaret’ – Louis Armstrong

What was the number one song in the UK on 24th April 1968?

American legend, Louis Armstrong was number one with the double AA side What a Wonderful World/Cabaret was number one for 4 weeks.

What a Wonderful World:

Ah lovely. Is there a more gorgeous, calming and life affirming song than Louis singing What a Wonderful World? Very doubtful. Written by George Weiss and Bob Thiele, Weiss said that the song was written with Louis specially in mind as he had the ability to bring people of different races together. Interesting fact, the recoding of this song went on for a lot longer than anticipated (until 6am in the morning!), so to ensure all the orchestral musicians got paid the overtime, Louis only accepted $250 for his work. What a dude. Anyway, I love this song and everything about it. I think Louis singing What a Wonderful World is quite the antidote at the moment.


Originally a song from the musical Cabaret and sung by the lead character Sally Bowles, Louis covered this track in typical Louis style. Jolly vocals, trumpet playing and a bouncy jazz tempo. It’s a joyful cover and differentiates itself from Liza Minnelli’s version recorded in 1972 (now probably the most version). It certainly helps establish this AA sided number one record as an absolute corker.


What a Wonderful World:
I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful worldI see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful worldThe colours of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying
“I love you”I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll never know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah

What good is sitting, alone in your room?
But come, hear the music play!
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
Come to the cabaret!
Put down your knitting, your book and your broom
It is time for a holiday
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
Come to the cabaret!
Come taste the wine
Come hear the band
Come blow that horn
Start celebrating
Right this way your table´s waiting
What good´s permitting some prophet of doom?
To wipe every smile away
Life is a cabaret , old chum!
So come to the cabaret!
I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared for sordid rooms in Chelsea
She wasn’t what you call a blushing flower
As a matter of fact she rented by the hours
The day she died the neighbours
Came to snicker her
Well, that is what comes from
Too much pills and liquor
But when I saw her laid down like a queen
She was the happiest corpse I´d ever seen
I think of Elsie till this very day
I remember how she´d turned to me and say
What good is sitting all alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
Come to the cabaret!
And as for me
And as for me
I made my mind up back in Chelsea
When I go I am going like Elsie
Star by admitting
From cradle to doom
It isn’t that long a stay
Life is a cabaret, old chum!
It´s only a cabaret, old chum!
And I love a cabaret!

The Playlist

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