31 Facts About Fats Waller


Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller was an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, violinist, singer, and comedic entertainer.


Fats Waller started playing the piano at the age of six and became a professional organist at 15.


Fats Waller was a prolific songwriter, and one of the most popular performers of his era, touring internationally and achieving critical and commercial success in the United States and Europe.


Fats Waller started playing the piano when he was six and graduated to playing the organ at his father's church four years later.


Fats Waller's mother instructed him in his youth, and he attended other music lessons, paying for them by working in a grocery store.


Fats Waller attended DeWitt Clinton High School for one semester, but left school at 15 to work as an organist at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, where he earned $32 a week.


Fats Waller was the prize pupil and later the friend and colleague of the stride pianist James P Johnson.


Fats Waller studied composition at the Juilliard School with Carl Bohm and Leopold Godowsky.


Fats Waller's mother died on November 10,1920 from a stroke due to diabetes.


Fats Waller's first published composition, "Squeeze Me", was published in 1924.


Fats Waller is believed to have composed many novelty tunes in the 1920s and 1930s and sold them for small sums, attributed to another composer and lyricist.


Fats Waller noted that early handwritten manuscripts in the Dana Library Institute of Jazz Studies of "Spreadin' Rhythm Around" are in Waller's hand.


Maurice Fats Waller wrote that his father objected to hearing "On the Sunny Side of the Street" on the radio.


Fats Waller played with Nathaniel Shilkret, Gene Austin, Erskine Tate, Fletcher Henderson, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, and Adelaide Hall.


Fats Waller was kidnapped in Chicago while leaving a performance in 1926.


Fats Waller was ordered inside the building and found a party taking place.


Fats Waller enjoyed success touring the United Kingdom and Ireland in the 1930s, appearing on one of the first BBC television broadcasts on September 30,1938.


Fats Waller appeared in several feature films and short subject films, most notably Stormy Weather in 1943, which was released July 21, just months before his death.


Fats Waller performed Bach organ pieces for small groups on occasion.


Fats Waller influenced many pre-bebop jazz pianists; Count Basie and Erroll Garner both revived his hit songs.


Between 1926 and the end of 1927, Fats Waller recorded a series of pipe organ solo records.


Fats Waller's Victor recording of "A Little Bit Independent", written by Joe Burke and Edgar Leslie, was No 1 on Your Hit Parade for two weeks in 1935.


Broadway producer Richard Kollmar's hiring of Fats Waller to create the 1943 musical Early to Bed was recalled in a 2016 essay about Fats Waller by John McWhorter.


Fats Waller was, after all, as much a comedian as a musician.


Fats Waller married Edith Hatch in 1920, with whom he had his first son, Thomas Fats Waller Jr.


Together, they had a son, Maurice Thomas Fats Waller, born on September 10,1927.


In 1938, Fats Waller was one of the first African Americans to purchase a home in the Addisleigh Park section of St Albans, Queens, a New York City community with racially restrictive covenants.


Fats Waller's final recording session was with an interracial group in Detroit, Michigan, that included white trumpeter Don Hirleman.


Fats Waller was returning to New York City from Los Angeles, after the smash success of Stormy Weather, and a successful engagement at the Zanzibar Room in Santa Monica, California, during which he had fallen ill.


Recordings of Fats Waller were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame which is a special Grammy Award established in 1973 to honour recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance".


Fats Waller has been with me from the first, and he'll be with me as long as I live.