Louis Prima

Artist Playlists

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.

New Orleans, LA, United States
December 7, 1910
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