Hello, Dolly! (song)

"Hello, Dolly!"
Single by Louis Armstrong
from the album Hello, Dolly!
B-side A Lot of Livin' To Do
Released 1964
Format 45 rpm
Recorded December 3, 1963
Genre Pop, Jazz
Length 2:27
Label Kapp
Writer(s) Jerry Herman
Producer(s) Michael Kapp

"Hello, Dolly!" is the title song of the popular 1964 musical of the same name. Louis Armstrong's version was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001.

The music and lyrics were written by Jerry Herman, who also wrote the scores for many other popular musicals including Mame and La Cage aux Folles.


"Hello, Dolly!" was first sung by Carol Channing, who starred as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the original 1964 Broadway cast. In December 1963, at the behest of his manager, Louis Armstrong made a demonstration recording of "Hello, Dolly!" for the song's publisher to use to promote the show.[1] Hello, Dolly! opened on January 16, 1964 at the St. James Theatre in New York City, and it quickly became a major success.

The same month, Kapp Records released Armstrong's publishing demo as a commercial single. His version reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, ending The Beatles' streak of three number-one hits in a row over 14 consecutive weeks (in addition to holding the second and third chart positions) and becoming the most successful single of Armstrong's career, followed by a gold-selling album of the same name.[2] The song also spent nine weeks atop the adult contemporary chart shortly after the opening of the musical. The song also made Armstrong the oldest artist ever to reach #1 on the Hot 100 since its introduction in 1958. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song of 1964, behind the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You."[3] In 1965, Armstrong performed the song on a German variety show with musician and bandleader Max Greger.

"Hello, Dolly!" won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1965, and Armstrong received a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance, Male. Louis Armstrong also performed the song (together with Barbra Streisand) in the popular 1969 film Hello, Dolly!.

Notable cover versions

"Hello, Dolly!" is a pop standard, and has been covered by many artists, including:

Sinatra's rendition of the song, recorded with the Count Basie Orchestra, features new lyrics, improvised by Sinatra, which pay tribute to Louis Armstrong.

Hello, Dolly! on Sesame Street

In 1984, Carol Channing had appeared on Sesame Street and sang a parody of the song called "Hello, Sammy!", a love song being sung by Carol to a character known as Sammy the Snake (as voiced by Jim Henson). Carol, in this parody segment, serenades Sammy telling him just how much she loves and adores him while Sammy coils himself around Carol's arms. They are soon joined by 4 giant swaying letter S's wearing top hats. Carol ends the song by telling Sammy just how much she'd miss him and the way he hisses if they ever parted. Carol's song includes lyrics such as "So..turn on your charm, Sammy/Coil yourself around my arm, Sammy/Sammy the Snake, I'll stake a claim on you"[5]

The "Sunflower" controversy

As successful as the stage show and title song itself turned out to be, however, the tune "Hello, Dolly!" became caught up in a lawsuit which could have endangered timely plans for bringing the musical to the silver screen. Mack David (1912–1993), an Academy Award-nominated composer also known for his compositions for television, sued for infringement of copyright, because the first four bars of Herman's show number, "Hello, Dolly!", were the same as those in the refrain of David's song "Sunflower" from 1948. As he recounts in his memoirs, Herman had never heard "Sunflower" before the lawsuit, and wanted a chance to defend himself in court, but, for the sake of those involved in the show and the potential film, he reluctantly agreed to pay a settlement before the case would have gone to trial.[6]


  1. All Music: Hello, Dolly! history
  2. Bronson, Fred. The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (2003), Billboard Books, ISBN 0-8230-7677-6
  3. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1964
  4. Al Hirt, Cotton Candy Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  5. Carol Channing sings to Sammy the Snake on YouTube
  6. Riedel, Michael. "Play it Again, Jerry. Broadway Tunesmith Jerry herman Looks Back on Years in Revue". New York Daily News. 12 July 1998.


  1. ^ Jerry Herman (with Marilyn Stasio). Showtune: A Memoir. New York: Donald I. Fine Books, 1996, pp. 102–108.
Preceded by
"Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
(Louis Armstrong version)

May 9, 1964
Succeeded by
"My Guy" by Mary Wells
Preceded by
"Navy Blue" by Diane Renay
Billboard Easy Listening number-one single
(Louis Armstrong version)

March 28 – May 23, 1964
Succeeded by
"Love Me with All Your Heart" by The Ray Charles Singers
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