First Hit #1: May 9, 1964
And now for something completely different.
Louis Armstrong’s Hello, Dolly is about as large a departure from those four lads from Liverpool as they were from the Bobby Vinton single before. While it’s somewhat jazzier than other recent chart entries, it’s not really a throwback to anything either. Armstrong’s voice is distinct, kind of a smooth and classy cookie monster, and the saxophone is expertly played of course. It sounds as modern as the tracks that surround it on the charts, but it’s trying for something else, something that’s a little bit more adult.
One might consider the song an antidote to Beatles fatigue. It’s certainly different, more relaxed, and has a much different focus than its pop contemporaries. It’s still fun, but in a different way, and it imparts a different atmosphere than those other hits. It’s a different way to have fun, and that’s to be celebrated.