Fats Waller was born in 1904. He was the son of a preacher
and learned to play the organ
in church with his mother. In 1918 he won a talent contest with a song which he learned from watching a pianola
play. He later took piano lessons
from James P. Johnson
He started his recording career in 1922 and made a living playing rent parties, as an organist at movie theatres, and as an accompanist for various vaudeville acts.
Fats' most famous song "Ain't Misbehavin'" was introduced in his broadway hit "Hot Chocolates", which featured Louis Armstrong.
Fats Waller's big break occurred at a party given by George Gershwin in 1934, where he delighted the crowd with his piano playing and singing. An executive of Victor Records, who was at the party was so impressed that he arranged for Fats to record with the company. This arrangement would continue until Wallers death on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of pneumonia in 1943.