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Fats Waller

Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, violinist, singer, and comedic entertainer. His innovations in the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano. His best-known compositions, "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose", were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1984 and 1999. Waller copyrighted over 400 songs, many of them co-written with his closest collaborator, Andy Razaf. Razaf 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". It's possible he composed many more popular songs and sold them to other performers when times were tough.

Waller started playing the piano at the age of six, and became a professional organist aged 15. By the age of 18 he was a recording artist. Waller's first recordings, "Muscle Shoals Blues" and "Birmingham Blues", were made in October 1922 for Okeh Records. That year, he also made his first player piano roll, "Got to Cool My Doggies Now". Waller's first published composition, "Squeeze Me", was published in 1924. He became one of the most popular performers of his era, touring internationally and achieving critical and commercial success in the United States and Europe. He died from pneumonia, aged 39.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 21st, 1904 (New York City), Died Kansas City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1922 - 1942

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano, leader, vocalist, composer, pipe organ, songwriter, celeste, arranger, lyricist, organ, director, electric organ, speaker

Notes: Sometimes listed as Thomas Waller or Thomas Wright Waller.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 551 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-36773 10-in. 11/17/1926 St. Louis blues Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-36774 10-in. 11/17/1926 Lenox Avenue blues Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-36810 10-in. 10/11/1926 Señorita mine Savoy Bearcats Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-37357 10-in. 1/14/1927 Soothin' syrup Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37358 10-in. 1/14/1927 Sloppy water Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37359 10-in. 1/14/1927 Loveless love Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37360 10-in. 1/14/1927 Harlem blues Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37361 10-in. 1/14/1927 Messin' around with the blues Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37362 10-in. 1/14/1927 The rusty pail Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37819 10-in. 2/16/1927 Stompin' the bug Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37820 10-in. 2/16/1927 Hog-maw stomp Fats Waller Pipe organ solo composer, instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-37821 10-in. 2/16/1927 Black bottom is the latest fad Fats Waller Piano solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-37822 10-in. 2/16/1927 Blue black bottom Fats Waller Piano solo instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor BVE-38044 10-in. 5/20/1927 Sugar Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38045 10-in. 5/20/1927 Sugar Alberta Hunter Female vocal solo, with pipe organ instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38046 10-in. 5/20/1927 Beale Street blues Alberta Hunter Female vocal solo, with pipe organ instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38047 10-in. 5/20/1927 Beale Street blues Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38048 10-in. 5/20/1927 I'm going to see my ma Alberta Hunter Female vocal solo, with pipe organ instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38049 10-in. 5/20/1927 I'm going to see my ma Fats Waller Pipe organ solo instrumentalist, piano  
Victor BVE-38050 10-in. 5/20/1927 Fats Waller stomp Morris' Hot Babies ; Fats Waller Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, pipe organ, composer  
Victor BVE-38051 10-in. 5/20/1927 Savannah blues Morris' Hot Babies ; Fats Waller Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, piano, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38052 10-in. 5/20/1927 Won't you take me home? Morris' Hot Babies ; Fats Waller Jazz/dance ensemble instrumentalist, pipe organ  
Victor BVE-38496 10-in. 4/27/1927 St. Louis shuffle Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-39559 10-in. 8/11/1927 Whiteman stomp Paul Whiteman Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor BVE-40077 10-in. 11/14/1927 Florence Juanita Stinnette Female vocal solo, with pipe organ instrumentalist, pipe organ  
(Results 1-25 of 551 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Waller, Fats," accessed August 12, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

Waller, Fats. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.

"Waller, Fats." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 12 August 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963

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