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Thomas “Fats” Waller

Thomas Wright Waller better known as Fats was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, violinist, singer, and comedic entertainer born on May 21st, 1904 in New York City, New York. Waller was known for his big personality and size and copyrighted over 400 songs. He is said to have written many popular songs but to have sold them to various artists amidst tough times. His closest collaborator was a man named Andy Razaf, who described his partner as “the soul of melody… a man who made the piano sing… both big in body and in mind… known for his generosity… a bubbling bundle of joy”. Waller began playing the piano at the age of six, and was a professional organist by 15. By the age of 18 he was a recording artist and his first recordings, “Muscle Shoals Blues” and “Birmingham Blues”, were made in October 1922 for Okeh Records. The same year, he made his first player piano roll, “Got to Cool My Doggies Now”. Waller’s first published composition, “Squeeze Me”, came to in 1924 and undoubtedly launched him into one of the most popular performers of his era, touring internationally and recieving critical and commercial success in the both the United States and Europe. He died from pneumonia, aged 39.

Most Popular Compositions

Ain’t Misbehavin’
inducted into Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984
Honeysuckle Rose
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999