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Died On This Date (December 15, 1943) Fats Waller / Influential Jazz Pianist

Posted by themusicsover on December 15, 2009

Thomas “Fats” Waller
May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943

Photo by Alan Fisher

Fats Waller was a jazz pianist and songwriter who came to prominence during the mid ’20s.  Over the course of his short career, he penned more than 400 songs, most notably, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and “Squeeze Me.”  According to legend, Waller was in such demand as a performer that in 1926, he was taken at gunpoint while leaving a gig in Chicago.  The next thing he knew, he was brought to building that was housing a big party and forced to take a sit at the piano and play.  He quickly realized he was the entertainment for Al Capone’s birtheday party.  He supposedly played for the better part of three days and was rewarded with thousands of dollars in tips.  Waller continued to compose, record and tour well into the ’30s.   In December of 1943, he came down with pneumonia and died as a result of it at the age of 39.

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