Fats Waller was the son of a preacher and learned to play the organ in church with his mother. In 1918 he won a talent contest playing James P. Johnson's Carolina Shout which he learned from watching a pianola play the song. He would later take piano lessons from Johnson. Fats began 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. In 1927 he co-wrote a couple of tunes with his old piano teacher James P. Johnson for his show "Keep Shufflin'". Two years later Waller wrote the score for the Broadway hit "Hot Chocolates" with lyrics supplied by his friend Andy Razaf. Fats' most famous song, "Ain't Misbehavin'" was introduced in this show 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 Waller's death in 1943. Most of the records he made were released under the name of Fats Waller and his Rhythm. The group consisted of around half a dozen musicians who worked with him regularly, including Zutty Singleton. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s Fats was a star of radio and nightclubs, and toured Europe. He unexpectedtly died on board a train near Kansas City, Missouri of pneumonia in 1943.

A special thanks to Owen Miller and James Gallup for their help with the recordings on this page.

Thomas Waller With Morris's Hot Babies Fats Waller and his Buddies
Fats Waller and his Rhythm Fats Waller and his Orchestra
Fats Waller and his Continental Rhythm Fats Waller his Rhythm and his Orchestra
Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
African Ripples
(Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York Bluebird
B-10115
After You've Gone *
(Henry Creamer / J. Turner Layton)
3-21-1930 New York, New York Victor
22371-B
A Handful Of Keys
(Fats Waller)
3-1-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
A Handful Of Keys
(Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Ain't Misbehavin'
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Ain't Misbehavin'
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
All God's Chillun Got Wings 8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27460
Alligator Crawl
(Fats Waller / Andy Razaf)
11-16-1934 New York, New York Bluebird
B-10098
Baby Brown
(Alex Hill)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (1)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (2)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (3)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (1)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey RFW
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (2)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey RFW
Baby, Oh! Where Can You Be? (3)
(Ted Koehler/ Frank Magine)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey RFW
Basin Street Blues
(Spencer Williams)
6-11-1937 New York, New York Victor
25631
Victor
27767
Bluebird
B-10115
Because Of Once Upon a Time 3-11-1935 New York, New York RFW
Believe It, Beloved
(Nat Burton / J.C. Johnson / George Whiting)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Birmingham Blues
(McCord / Matthews)
10-21-1922 New York, New York Okeh
4757-B
Blue Black Bottom
(Mike Jackson / Fats Waller)
2-16-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Blue Turning Gray Over You
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Bye Bye Florence
Vocal Chorus by Bert Howell
Camden, New Jersey Victor
21062-B
California, Here I Come
(Buddy Desylva / Al Jolson / Joseph Meyer)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Carolina Shout (1)
(James P. Johnson)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
Carolina Shout (2)
(James P. Johnson)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
27563
Clothes Line Ballet
(Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York Victor
25015
Bluebird
10098
Deep River
(Fats Waller)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27459
Dinah
(Samuel Lewis / Joseph Young / Harry Akst)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Do Me a Favor
(Jack Lawrence / Peter Tinturin)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Down Home Blues
(Tom Delaney)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Draggin' My Poor Heart Around
(Alex Hill)
3-13-1931 New York, New York Vocalion
3016
E-Flat Blues
(Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Florence
Vocal Chorus by Juanita Stinnette Chappelle
Camden, New Jersey Victor
21062-B
Georgia On My Mind
(Johnny Mercer / Hoagy Carmichael)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
27765
Goin' About (1)
(Fats Waller)
9-11-1929 New York, New York Pirate
Goin' About (2)
(Fats Waller)
9-11-1929 New York, New York Victor
Gladyse (1)
(Fats Waller)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Gladyse (2)
(Fats Waller)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Go Down, Moses
(traditional arranged by Fats Waller)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27458
Hallelujah (Things Look Rosey)
(Leon Flatow / Frank Magine / Eugene West)
3-11-1935 New York, New York RFW
Handful Of Keys
(Fats Waller)
3-1-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
27768
Victor
38508
Hog Maw Stomp (1)
(Fats Waller)
2-16-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Hog Maw Stomp (2)
(Fats Waller)
2-16-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Honeysuckle Rose
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Honeysuckle Rose
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
How Can You Face Me?
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
I Ain't Got Nobody
(Abel Baer / Samuel Lewis / Joseph Young)
6-11-1937 New York, New York Victor
25026
Victor
25631
Victor
27766-B
Bluebird
B-10133
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby
(Fats Waller / Alex Hill)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (1)
(Fats Waller / Harry Link / Billy Rose)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling (2)
(Fats Waller / Harry Link / Billy Rose)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling
(Fats Waller / Harry Link / Billy Rose)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Keeping Out Of Mischief Now
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
6-11-1937 New York, New York Bluebird
10099
Lennox Avenue Blues
(Fats Waller)
11-17-1922 Camden, New Jersey Victor
20357-B
London Suite - Picadilly
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10059
London Suite - Chelsea
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10059
London Suite - Soho
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10060
London Suite - Bond Street
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10060
London Suite - Limehouse
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10061
London Suite - Whitechapel
(Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
B10061
Lonesome Road
(Nat Shilkret / Gene Austin)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27459
Loveless Love
(W.C. Handy)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
23260
Love Me Or Leave Me (1)
(From the Ziegfeld Production "Whoopie")

(Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Love Me Or Leave Me (2)
(From the Ziegfeld Production "Whoopie")

(Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Love Me Or Leave Me (3)
(Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey RCA X
Minor Drag
(Fats Waller)
3-1-1929 New York, New York Victor
Messin' Around With The Blues Blues (2)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Messin' Around With The Blues Blues (3)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Muscle Shoals Blues
(George W. Thomas)
10-21-1922 New York, New York Okeh
4757-A
My Fate Is In Your Hands
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
12-4-1929 New York, New York Victor
My Fate Is In Your Hands
(Fats Waller / Andy Razaf)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
My Feelin's Are Hurt
(Fats Waller)
9-11-1929 New York, New York Victor
Night Wind
(David Pollack / Bob Rothberg)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Numb Fumblin'
(Fats Waller)
3-1-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Ring Dem Bells
(Duke Elington)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
27563
Rockin' Chair
(Hoagy Carmichael)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
27765
Russian Fantasy
(Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Solitude
(Duke Elington / Irving Mills)
5-13-1941 New York, New York Victor
Solitude
(Duke Ellington)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Somebody Stole My Gal
(Leo Wood)
3-11-1935 New York, New York Victor
Sweet Sue
(Young / Harris)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Soothin' Syrup Stomp (1)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Soothin' Syrup Stomp (2)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Sloppy Water Blues (1)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Sloppy Water Blues (3)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Smashing Thirds
(Fats Waller)
9-24-1929 New York, New York Victor
Smoke Rings Of You
(Gibsone / deGreville)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
Stardust
(Mitchell Parrish / Hoagy Carmichael)
6-11-1937 New York, New York Bluebird
10099
St. Louis Blues
(W.C. Handy)
11-17-1926 Camden, New Jersey Victor
20357-A
St. Louis Blues *
(W.C. Handy)
3-21-1930 New York, New York Victor
22371-A
Sugar
(Maceo Pinkard)
2-16-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
23331
Sweet Savannah Sue
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Harry Brooks)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
(traditional arranged by Fats Waller)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27458
Tanglefoot (1) 8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey RFW
Tanglefoot (2) 8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey RFW
Tea For Two
(Vincent Youmans / Irving Caesar)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Tea For Two
(Vincent Youmans / Irving Caesar)
6-11-1937 New York, New York Victor
The Rusty Pail (1)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
The Rusty Pail (3)
(Fats Waller)
1-14-1927 Camden, New Jersey Victor
That Old Feeling
(Lew Brown / Sammy Fain)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
That's All
(Fats Waller)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
23260
Turn On The Heat
(Buddy DeSylva / Lew Brown / Ray Henderson)
12-4-1929 New York, New York Victor
Valentine Stomp (1)
(Fats Waller)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Valentine Stomp (2)
(Fats Waller)
8-2-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Vipers Drag
(Fats Waller)
11-16-1934 New York, New York HMV
Waiting At The End Of The Road (1)
(Irving Berlin)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Bluebird
Waiting At The End Of The Road (2)
(Irving Berlin)
8-29-1929 Camden, New Jersey Victor
Waterboy (Convict Song)
(traditional arranged by Fats Waller)
8-28-1938 London, England Victor
27460
Where Were You On the Night of June 3rd? 3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
You Can't Have Your Cake And Eat It
(Williams / Fats Waller)
6-13-1939 London England HMV
You're The Top
(Cole Porter)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV
Zonky
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
3-11-1935 New York, New York HMV

Artist Instrument
Adeline Hall Vocals
Benny Payne Piano (*Duet with Fats)
Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Ain't Misbehavin'
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Brooks)
1-1929 New York, New York QRS 7883
A New Kind Of Man With A New Kind Of Love For Me
(S. Clare / L. Flatow)
8-1924 New York, New York Play-A-Roll 0677
Clearing House Blues
(S. Honesty / H. Webb)
7-1924 New York, New York QRS 2661
Cryin' for My Used To Be
(Bob Thompson)
2-1927 New York, New York QRS 3800
Do It Mr. So-and-So
(Myrtle Barger / Lukie Johnson)
6-1924 New York, New York QRS 2708
Don't Try to Take My Man Away
(Tausha Hammed)
6-1924 New York, New York QRS 2711
18th Street Strut
(Bennie Moten / Costello)
3-1926 New York, New York QRS 3377
Got to Cool My Doggies Now
(Bob Thompson / Spencer Williams)
3-1923 New York, New York QRS 2149
Haitian Blues
(Spencer Williams / Lizzie Miles)
8-1923 New York, New York QRS 2304
If I Could Be With You
(Henry Creamer / James P. Johnson)
3-1927 New York, New York QRS 3818
I'm Coming Virginia
(Will Marion Cook / D. Hayward)
11-1927 New York, New York QRS 4073
I'm Crazy Bout My Baby
(Fats Waller / Alex Hill)
  New York, New York QRS 5143
Jail House Blues
(Bessie Smith / Clarence Williams)
6-1924 New York, New York QRS 2661
Last Go Round Blues
(Jimmy Cox)
9-1923 New York, New York QRS 2363
Laughin' Cryin' Blues
(Porter Grainger / Bob Ricketts)
5-1927 New York, New York QRS 2213
Low Down Papa
(Spencer Williams)
8-1923 New York, New York QRS
Mama's Got the Blues
(Sara Martin / Clarence Williams)
  New York, New York QRS 2322
Midnight Blues
(Bob Thompson / Spencer Williams)
8-1923 New York, New York QRS 2331
Nobody But My Baby (Is Getting My Love)
(Andy Razaf / Clarence Williams)
8-1927 New York, New York QRS 3997
Papa Better Watch Your Step
(Walls / Cooper)
7-1923 New York, New York QRS 2286
Snake Hips
(Spencer Williams)
6-1923 New York, New York QRS 2256
Squeeze Me
(Clarence Williams / Fats Waller)
2-1926 New York, New York QRS 3352
Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do
(Porter Grainger / E. Robbins)
6-1923 New York, New York QRS 2270
Wild Cat Blues
(Fats Waller / Clarence Williams)
5-1928 New York, New York Automatic Music Roll A1418
You Can't Do What My Last Man Did
(James P. Johnson /A. Moore)
1-1924 New York, New York QRS 2444
Your Time Now
(Spencer Williams)
5-1923 New York, New York QRS 2245
Title Director Year
King of Burlesque Sidney Lanfield 1935
Hooray for Love Walter Lang 1935
Stormy Weather Andrew L. Stone 1943
A special thanks to Mike DonovanFailteFarm@att.netlp with the recordings on this page.