Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller (May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943) was an influential jazz pianist, organist, composer, singer, and comedic entertainer, whose innovations to the Harlem stride style laid the groundwork for modern jazz piano, and whose most well known compositions, Ain't Misbehavin' and Honeysuckle Rose, were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame posthumously, in 1984 and 1999.
Thomas Wright Waller was the youngest of four children born to Adeline Locket Waller and Reverend Edward Martin Waller. He started playing the piano when he was six and graduated to the organ of his father's church four years later. His mother instructed him as a youth. At the age of fourteen he was playing the organ at Harlem's Lincoln Theater and within twelve months he had composed his first rag. Waller's first piano solos ("Muscle Shoals Blues" and "Birmingham Blues") were recorded in October 1922 when he was 18 years old.