In the late 1960’s, nothing seemed like it was going right; from assassinations to race riots to the Vietnam War, tension was everywhere. It seemed as if the world was falling apart.
In light of this, songwriter George David Weiss and record producer Bob Thiele decided to pen a positive, beautiful song that would provide a welcome respite from these challenging times. The song was called What a Wonderful World, and after Tony Bennett turned down the initial recording offer, Louis Armstrong signed on to record it. Initially released in 1967 as a single, the song didn’t fare so well. But after Armstrong released the song on his What A Wonderful World album in 1968, it gradually gained in popularity.
Over the past 50 years, this simple, memorable song has appeared in over 20 movies, 20 TV shows, and has been recorded by over 200 different artists. With that kind of history, we think it’s pretty safe to say that What A Wonderful World is one of the greatest songs of all time.
Today we’re paying homage to this beloved tune by sharing the version that started it all and then one other version from each decade since the song was first released. We’re partial to Louis’ gorgeous, gravelly voice, but each artist brings their own personal, unique touch to the tune. No matter what version you prefer, one thing definitely remains the same: they each evoke the same wonder and awe that the original recording is famous for. Because with lyrics like these — lyrics that hold a timeless, important message, one that begs us to simply pay attention to the beauty of life — how could they not?
Which version is your favorite? Did we include it here? Let us know in the comments!
At the The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.