27 April 1914, Tunapuna, Trinidad, d. February 1983, Sydney, Australia. Atwell began playing piano at the age of four, gave classical recitals when six and played concerts at the Services Club, Trinidad. She went to New York and studied with Alexander Borovsky before moving to London for tuition with Harold Craxton. Supplementing her income from classical music by playing boogie-woogie gained her a contract with Decca Records and throughout the 50s she had great success with a series of knees up sing along medleys and rags, mostly on her old honky-tonk, other piano. The first of these, Black And White Rag, was later selected as the signature tune for Pot Black, BBC Televisions first regular snooker programme. Other 50s Top 10 hits were Britannia Rag, Coronation Rag, Flirtation Waltz, Lets Have A Party, Lets Have A Ding Dong, Make It A Party, Lets Have A Ball, Piano Party, and two chart-toppers, Lets Have Another Party and The Poor People Of Paris. Atwells dubbing of John Mills piano playing in the 1956 film Its Great To Be Young, included a jumping version of The Original Dixieland One Step. Interrupting the pop, there was also the back to her roots single, Rachmaninoffs 18th Variation On A Theme By Paganini, which went to number 9 in the UK chart. Thereafter, she continued to combine the two musical forms. At her peak she was a huge UK star, but in the 60s her career declined and in the 70s she went to live in Australia, where she died in 1983.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.