Dave Peyton

Biography by

There is irony as heavy as a fully stuffed sack of laundry in the career of pianist, arranger and songwriter Dave Peyton. Here is an artist who gave up on the music business in the '50s, despite having…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

There is irony as heavy as a fully stuffed sack of laundry in the career of pianist, arranger and songwriter Dave Peyton. Here is an artist who gave up on the music business in the '50s, despite having co-written several enormous hits including the standard "I Ain't Got Nobody." The most obvious irony lies in the fact that his new business was a dry cleaning establishment, the logical choice for a player whose professional career began in a trio led by a reed player named Wilbur Sweatman.

Furthermore, one of Peyton's musically related enterprises prior to the '50s was toiling as a so-called music contractor, an individual who rather than leading bands simply supplies the musicians required for gigs to whomever contacts him. This relationship would surely put the contractor in sniffing distance of any dirty laundry a musician happened to have, at least professionally speaking. Speaking of which, Peyton's relationship with Sweatman began in 1908 and lasted four years, after which the pianist began leading his own groups at a series of venues in Chicago.

During the '30s, Peyton was in charge of a small orchestra holding forth at the Regal Theater. In the leaner times -- which undoubtedly led to his decision to throw in with the wash -- he was more likely to gig as a solo pianist. One of his last major bookings in this capacity was as the house pianist in Chicago's amusing Spot O' Fun club. Spencer Williams and Roger Graham were his co-writers for "I Ain't Got Nobody"; other Peyton songwriting efforts, particularly well liked by the wonderful Fats Waller, include "Hey Stop Kissin' My Sister" and "Roumania."