Remember When: Louis Armstrong Became the Oldest Person to Top the ‘Billboard’ Hot 100, and Ended The Beatles’ Historic Streak

Sixty years ago, on May 9, 1964, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong made chart history when his version of “Hello, Dolly!” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The legendary jazz trumpeter was 62 years old when his song topped the Hot 100, making him the oldest person ever to accomplish the feat at the time.

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The song was written by American composer Jerry Herman as the title tune to a new Broadway musical starring Carol Channing. Armstrong originally recorded his version of the tune in December 1963 as a demo to promote the show. His recording was released as a single in January 1964 and began heading up the chart.

[RELATED: The 20 Best Louis Armstrong Quotes]

In reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Hello, Dolly!” ended The Beatles’ then-record 14-week streak of chart-topping hits. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” spent seven weeks at No. 1, followed by “She Loves You” for two weeks and “Can’t Buy Me Love” for five weeks.

According to Billboard, shortly before the Hot 100 achievement of “Hello, Dolly!,” Armstrong was asked by Newsweek how he felt about the song’s chart success, and he answered, “It’s awful nice to be there among all them Beatles.”

Armstrong went on to win a 1965 Grammy in the Best Vocal Performance, Male category for “Hello, Dolly!” Herman also won the Song of the Year honor for the tune.

Some of Armstrong’s Other Achievements

In April 1968, Armstrong, then 66, became the oldest person to score a No. 1 hit in the U.K. when his rendition of “What a Wonderful World” topped the British singles chart. Armstrong died of a heart attack at age 69 in July 1971.

In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category.

In 2001, Satchmo’s version of “Hello, Dolly!” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Armstrong’s Hot 100 Record Was Broken in 2023

Armstrong’s record of being the oldest artist to score a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 was broken in 2023 by Brenda Lee, when Lee’s 1958 version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” topped the chart. Armstrong remains the oldest male artist to have a No. 1 Hot 100 hit.

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