Mr. Thomas 'Fats' Waller
|Thomas 'Fats' Waller was the son of a preacher and
learned to play the organ in church with his mother. In
1918 he won a talent contest playing James P. Johnson's
Carolina Shout, which he learned from watching a pianola
play the song.
He would later take piano lessons from Johnson. Fats began
his recording career in 1922 and made a living playing rent
parties, as an organist at movie theatres and as an
accompanist for various vaudeville acts.
|In 1927 he co-wrote a couple of tunes with his old piano
teacher James P. Johnson for his show "Keep Shufflin'". Two
years later Waller wrote the score for the Broadway hit "Hot
Chocolates" with lyrics supplied by his friend Andy Razaf.
Fats' most famous song, "Ain't Misbehavin'" was introduced
in this show which featured Louis Armstrong.
|Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s Fats was a star of
radio and nightclubs, and toured Europe. He unexpectedly
died on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of
pneumonia in 1943.