Louis Prima
Louis Prima

Louis Prima

About Louis Prima

Often called “The King of Swing,” Louis Prima was a singer, songwriter, trumpeter, and one of the most successful performers of the big band jazz era.

∙ Born and raised in New Orleans, he played violin from a young age before finding inspiration in the Dixieland sound of such local jazz musicians as trumpeter Louis Armstrong.
∙ Prima wrote the 1936 song “Sing, Sing, Sing”—a jazz standard and career-making hit for swing music legend Benny Goodman.
∙ Impressed by his performance in Washington, D.C., First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt personally invited Prima to play for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday in 1939.
∙ After achieving enormous success touring in the 1940s, he released his debut album, Louis Prima Plays For The People, in 1953.
∙ His Las Vegas residency—nicknamed “The Wildest Show In Vegas”—pioneered the city’s nightclub scene and was famously captured on the 1956 album The Wildest!.
∙ At the first-ever Grammy Awards in 1958, Prima and wife Keely Smith won Best Performance By A Vocal Group for their hit collaboration “That Old Black Magic.”
∙ He made his voice-acting debut in the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book, playing the orangutan King Louie and performing the song “I Wan’na Be Like You.”
∙ During the ’90s swing revival, he gained new fans and inspired covers, such as The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s Grammy Award-winning version of “Jump, Jive, An’ Wail.”
∙ After being sampled on the 2018 single “4th Dimension” by KIDS SEE GHOSTS, he broke the record for longest gap between Billboard Hot 100 appearances—59 years.

  • HOMETOWN
    New Orleans, LA
  • BORN
    December 7, 1910

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