Living, just by itself—what a dirge that is! Life is a classroom and Boredom's the usher, there all the time to spy on you; whatever happens, you've got to look as if you were awfully busy all the time doing something that's terribly exciting—or he'll come along and nibble your brain.Louis-Ferdinand Celine
- The Brick House was one of the toughest joints I ever played in ... Guys would drink and fight one another like circle saws. Bottles would come flying over the bandstand like crazy and there was lots of plain common shooting and cutting. But somehow all that jive didn't faze me at all. I was so happy to have some place to blow my horn.
- Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (1954)
- Some of you young folks been saying to me, "Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That aint so wonderful either." Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me, it aint the world that's so bad but what we're doin' to it. And all I'm saying is, see, what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be better. That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying.
- Spoken intro to "What a Wonderful World" (1970 version)
- The way they're treating my people in the South, the government can go to hell.
- New York Times, September 19, 1957 
- At first it was just a misdemeanor, but then you lost the "mis-de" and you just got meaner and meaner..
- A reference to the anti-marijuana laws of the 1930s
- All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song.
- In a 1956 concert recording, Big Bill Broonzy used this line by way of explaining why he was about to sing "The Glory of Love" in a venue he was sharing with Pete Seeger.
- If you gotta ask, you'll never know.
- Armstrong's reported response to the question "What is jazz?" (Exact wording varies.)
- If you still have to ask, shame on you
- Armstrong's response to the question what jazz is, cited by Max Jones et. al.: "Salute to Satchmo", I.P.C. Specialist & Professional Press Ltd 1970, page 25
- It really puzzles me to see marijuana connected with narcotics dope and all of that stuff. It is a thousand times better than whiskey. It is an assistant and a friend.
- Making money ain't nothing exciting to me. You might be able to buy a little better booze than the wino on the corner. But you get sick just like the next cat and when you die you're just as graveyard dead as he is.
- There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.
Quotes about Armstrong
- He was the only musician who ever lived, who can't be replaced by someone.
- You can't play anything on a horn that Louis hasn't played.
- He was born poor, died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way.