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Thomas (Fats) Waller
Born: May 21, 1904, Waverly, New York (US)
Died: December 15, 1943 (age 39) on a train near Kansas City, MO
Primary songwriting role: composer; also pianist and organist
Gary Marmorstein in his book Hollywood Rhapsody compares the screen presence of Waller, who appeared in only one major film, to that of Louis Armstrong. Waller, writes Marmorstein, "locked a movie camera in a love-grip and didn't let go. Few men of such girth have exuded such sexiness, a growling, mocking eyebrow-bouncing sensuality that was ripe for the movies. Had Waller lived longer -- he died just months after the release of Stormy Weather, at thirty-nine -- he might have used the movies, or let the movies use him, in new musical ways."
Fats Waller and Ada Brown perform "That Ain't Right" (Nat 'King' Cole & Irving Mills),
with drummer Zutty Singleton, bassist Slam Stewart, and trumpeter and Benny Carter
in Stormy Weather (1943)
Maurice Waller and Anthony Calabrese. Fats Waller. New York: Schirmer Books, 1977
ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, New York: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Cattell/Bowker, Fourth edition, 1980 (dates, collaborators, shows/movies, songs, etc., entry p. 526).
David Ewen. American Songwriters, An H. W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary. New York: The H. W. Wilson Co., 1987 (includes 146 bios of composers and lyricists). -- a wide selection of used copies is available at abebooks.com (entry pp. 413-417).
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Master List of Great American Songbook Songwriters
Names of songwriters who have written at least one song included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook are listed below.
Names of songwriters with two or more song credits in the catalog (with rare exceptions) are linked to their own Cafe Songbook pages, e.g. Fields, Dorothy.
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Please note: Cafe Songbook pages for songwriters are currently in various stages of development.