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. Listing for Fats Waller.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 544 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|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Waller, Fats," accessed July 10, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.
Waller, Fats. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 10, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101963.
"Waller, Fats." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 10 July 2020.
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