Today in 1922 - Bob Thiele - co-writer Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" is born in NYC

July 27, 2016

On this day in 1922

Record producer Bob Thiele is born in New York City


Thiele co-wrote Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"

under the pseudonym George Douglas


Bob Thiele hosted a jazz radio show when he was 14

He also played clarinet and led a band in the New York area


At age 17 Bob founded the Signature Records label

and recorded many jazz greats

including Lester Young, Erroll Garner and, in 1943, Coleman Hawkins


Signature folded in 1948 and he joined Decca Records in 1952

running its Coral Records subsidiary

His wife was the singer Teresa Brewer

whom he met and produced while working for Decca Records in the 1950s


Thiele took over as head of Impulse! Records from 1961-69

after founder Creed Taylor went to run Verve Records

Thiele's best known association while at Impulse! was with John Coltrane

but he also recorded such artists

as Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie,

Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp, and Albert Ayler among others


His most successful hit song

was with Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World"

which he co-wrote with George David Weiss


According to Thiele's memoir

the recording session for this now-famous song

was the scene of a major clash with ABC Records president Larry Newton

who had to be locked out of the studio

after getting into a heated argument with Thiele

over the song "What a Wonderful World"

In the late 1960s Thiele was often brought in to produce artists

on the company's Bluesway Records label

He produced the albums that graduated blues giant B.B. King toward the mainstream, including Lucille (1967), Live and Well (1968), and Completely Well (1969), the last biggest seller of King's career to that point.


He also produced BluesWay recordings

by John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, and others


After seven years with ABC Records, the parent of Impulse!

Thiele formed his own company Flying Dutchman Productions in 1968

Thiele later formed his own record label Flying Dutchman Records

which is now part of Sony Music Entertainment



Thiele remained active in the music business until the end

including the co-writing of the song "You"

which was recorded by Bonnie Raitt

and appeared on her 1994 album Longing in Their Hearts

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