On a winter day almost 40 years ago, Louis Armstrong went to work in the den at his home at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, Queens, New York.
That day — Friday, Feb. 26, 1971 — he recorded this:
“The Night Before Christmas (A Poem),” Louis Armstrong, 1971, from “The Stash Christmas Album,” 1985. It’s out of print, but you can find the original 7-inch single (Continental CR 1001) on eBay for around $10.
(This is the sleeve for that 45. You could have bought it for 25 cents if you also bought a carton of Kent, True, Newport or Old Gold cigarettes.)
There’s no music. Just Satchmo’s warm, gravelly voice and Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem.
“But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night. A very good night.’
“And that goes for Satchmo, too. (Laughs softly.) Thank you.”
It was the last thing he ever recorded. Satchmo died the following July.
You just never know.
Embrace the moment, especially at Christmas.