Fats Waller

Fats Waller
Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller could make any piano sing. Son of a preacher, he learned piano early, and began playing the organ at his father’s church at 15. By 18 he had already recorded 2 songs. In his early years, he often sold his works at low cost. Unfortunately, many of them would later become hits, but he would get no credit for the song. In his son Maurice’s biography of Waller, he mentions how his father would become upset upon hearing certain songs and would explain how they were originally his own works, but were claimed by other musicians. His reputation and talent were so extraordinary that it actually put his life in danger. In 1926, he was kidnapped after a show and brought to the Hawthorne Inn and told to play the piano at gunpoint - only to discover that he was the surprise guest at Al Capone’s birthday party. Relieved to discover the mobster didn’t want to kill him, it is rumored that he stayed at the Inn for 3 days straight, and left highly intoxicated, but with thousands of dollars in tips.
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