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Born in 1900, his life paralleled many of the twists and turns of the middle century. In the twenties, he stunned his jazz peers with an instrumental originality they had never imagined. The thirties saw him rise to the top of the pop music echelon, as his peerless personality swept up admiring listeners of all colors. The forties brought both a sinking of fortunes, with a ban on recording during the war, and a bold resurgence at the end of the decade. By the fifties, Louis' voice mellowed into an evocative instrument of its own, capable of elevating a novelty like "Mack the Knife" or a ballad like "That Old Feeling" into timeless mementos. Even in his final years, though deprived of the facility to make his famous cornet produce the kind of stirring sound that first brought him recognition, Louis Armstrong had the clout to create his most famous hits".