Almanac May 21 :: Fats Waller

Fats Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943), born Thomas Wright Waller, was a jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer. Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. He was also a prolific songwriter and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Squeeze Me". Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller "the black Horowitz". Waller composed many novelty swing tunes in the 1920s and 1930s and sold them for relatively small sums. When the compositions became hits, other songwriters claimed them as their own. Many standards are alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller.




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