An American classic that never hit in the US, “What a Wonderful World” was originally offered to Tony Bennett to sing, who turned it down. He actually did record several performances of the song later in tribute to Louis Armstrong, for whom the song is eternally known.
Armstrong recorded the song in 1968. Race relations in the US at the time were particularly poor, and songwriters Bob Thiele and George David Weiss believed that the elder jazz statesman would be able to help bridge the divide. It didn’t go as expected.
The song didn’t make it onto the Billboard Top 100 charts. It was, however, a success in the UK. It instead reached domestic success when used in the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam” as a backdrop to devastating images of war, the converse of its original message of harmony.