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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… read more

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