Lil Hardin was originally from Memphis and raised on and taught to play church hymns, traditional spirituals, and classical music. Her early piano education began with her third grade teacher, but Hardin would go on to attend Fisk University to study piano and music. One of her first gigs was working in a cabaret, something she knew her family would not approve of...so she told them she was the accompanist for a dance school. She later studied at New York College of Music and earned her post-graduate diploma in 1929. She was working with bandleader Lawrence Duhe, when King Oliver asked her to join his band. She played with that band until her return to Chicago in the early 1920s. Her noted works with Louis Armstrong, who was her husband from 1924 until their divorce in 1938. Her contributions to Armstrong's Hot Fives and Hot Sevens are many. Not only was she a well-schooled pianist, she was also a vocalist and composer. Among her well-known compositions are classics "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" "Just For a Thrill" and "Clip Joint." Hardin also led her own swing bands in the late 1930 and early 40s. She died in Chicago and, unfortunately, her letters and the unfinished manuscript for her autobiography disappeared from her home.