The ABCs of Black and Blue
Black and Blue was one of Armstrongs greatest hits, it is hard to believe that a remade song could rank so high on his greatest. Armstrong had a unique way of taking a song that had already been published and making into his own work of art. Black and Blue is a song that can have a few different meanings depending on the way you look at it. Black and Blue can be described as abstract, bruised, and colorful. Armstrong was the greatest artist of his time and he shows us this in the ways he could take songs, manipulate them and make them his own. Black and Blue could be one of the best examples of this. The fact that Armstrongs version of Black and Blue is more popular than the original version has a lot to say about his abilities.
Abstract: consider theoretically or separately from something else, make a written summary of, a summary of a book or article, an abstract work of art. Armstrong was a great musician of his time and a musician is an artist. Therefor his works (songs) are considered art work. To many people of his time this art that he made may have seemed off the beaten path. To many this may have seemed abstract. He had a presence that would radiate through an audience manly from the way he held himself on stage, and compared to the many other performers of the time this was different from anyone else. The way Armstrong took this song, Black and Blue, from its original version, sung by Edith Wilson, and manipulated it to what it is now, could be said to be an abstract work of art. He had the raw talent to take a song and change it into something known as an Armstrong song, not a remake. Black and Blue was a song that was originally made to be sung by a woman, some how he pulled it off. The manor in which Armstrong preformed on stages may have been too soon for his time, meaning that the people may not have been ready for what he had to give them, but this may have also been perceived as abstract. An Armstrong performance was different from what everyone was used to seeing, he stepped out on his own and made it work, the fact that he was different and now accepted by many made him and his work abstract.
Bruised: an injury appearing as an area of discolored skin on the body, caused by a blow rupturing underlying blood vessels. When you first hear the song Black and Blue one of the first things to pop into your head is a bruise, because those are the colors associated with bruising. There are two main types of bruising that we think of, physical and emotional. Sometimes an emotional bruise can be just as or even more painful than a physical bruise. Black were bruised with rude remarks and racial slurs probably just as much or even more than they were beaten and bullied with physical bruises. Blacks at this time period receive little to no respect at all. It was very hard for a black man to make it very far in life. If in fact he did make something of himself, the speed bumps passed along the way were ten feet tall. Who would want to even attempt to make something of yourself when it was much easier to sit back and stay away from being picked on even more. The easiest way to explain the white people of Armstrongs day is rude, the pure disrespect for blacks was sickening. The title of the song itself can be thought to be talking about someone or something that has taken a beating, verbal or physical. This song may indeed represent the struggles and falls of trying to make it big or even to make it at all, and just being a black man during these times. There is a line in the song that says, Im white inside but that dont help my case, that right there sais something about being excepted and appreciated for the color of skin. The line my only sin is in my skin also says a lot about how much black were approved of and appreciated. Regardless if he was the best jazz musician or not, many people hated him because he was back. They refused to like his music because of this and that is why this was the perfect song for him to make into the work of art that he did. If the people got the message or not I think it explained in black and white the struggles he had to go through to get where he was.
Colorful: lively and exciting; vivid. Colorful can be used as a way to say different, Black and Blue was just that. Black and Blue was as colorful of a song as Armstrong was an entertainer. It was different from the original because it was sang by Armstrong and not a woman. It was also telling white people how rude and inconsiderate they were, that was a bold move on his part. Armstrongs version of Black and Blue was much different than Edith Wilsons original. The major difference in the two songs is the fact one is sung by a women and the other a man. Also Armstrong cut a lot of lyrics out of the beginning of the song and added more of a swing sound to it. He did keep a lot of the song the same but it was obviously unique in its own way. The contrast of these two songs made Armstrongs version colorful. The song could also be said to be colorful because there are so many interpretations for the meaning of this peace. The title leads you to believe that the song is about being beaten but the more that one listens to this song more and more ideas come up about the true meaning of it. Not knowing the true meaning and what he is talking about is very different from many songs in his time. Armstrong was said to be one of the most colorful performers of his time. He was decorated with this label by many people for his dancing around on stage, vibrant solos, and controversial actions/sounds he made on stage. Armstrong was a very colorful man, not only because he was black but also with his attitude toward life. He was the kind of man that went by the seat of his pants and from his performances you could tell that he liked to have a lot of fun with what he did.
Armstrong had the ability to turn a song like Black and Blue, which was supposed to be sang by a women, into one of his greats, his natural talent was amazing. Armstrongs laid back life style and carefree attitude helped him over come large prejudice and adversity, this carefree sense of attitude may have also been a large factor in the style of his performance. Black and Blue is a song that is colorful, bruised , and abstract. Armstrongs artistic ability to change Black and Blue from its original version, which happened to be sung by a women and not wrote by him, into one of his most famous and important pieces.