When Louis Armstrong first heard “What a Wonderful World,” written by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele and the recipient of the Towering Song Award, “he loved it right from the beginning, and he had the best instincts that anybody could have,” recalls Bob Golden, co-author with Thiele of What a Wonderful World: A Lifetime of Recordings.
The song was a burst of pop optimism during the trouble-strewn year of 1967. Thiele “just felt this was the time for this song,” says Golden. The song was a major hit in the United Kingdom, where it topped the pop chart. But the tune was underpromoted stateside, until its use in the Robin Williams film Good Morning, Vietnam drove it to No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988.