He was without a doubt one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll. We lost hi…

Written by on February 27, 2018


He was without a doubt one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll. We lost him last Oct. 24th.

If he were still with us, Fats Domino would have turned 90 years old today.

Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino Jr. was a pianist and singer-songwriter who was one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records. Between 1955 and 1960, he had eleven Top 10 hits. During his career, Domino had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40, and five of his pre-1955 records sold more than a million copies, being certified gold.

His 1949 release “The Fat Man” is widely regarded as the first million-selling Rock ‘n Roll record.

By age 14, Domino was performing in New Orleans bars. In 1947, Billy Diamond, a New Orleans bandleader, accepted an invitation to hear the young pianist perform at a backyard barbecue. Domino played well enough that Diamond asked him to join his band, the Solid Senders, at the Hideaway Club in New Orleans, where he would earn $3 a week playing the piano. Diamond nicknamed him “Fats”, because Domino reminded him of the renowned pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon, but also because of his large appetite.

Domino was signed to the Imperial Records label in 1949 by owner Lew Chudd, to be paid royalties based on sales instead of a fee for each song. He and producer Dave Bartholomew wrote “The Fat Man”, a toned down version of a song about drug addicts called “Junkers Blues”; the record had sold a million copies by 1951. Featuring a rolling piano and Domino vocalizing “wah-wah” over a strong backbeat, “The Fat Man” is widely considered the first rock-and-roll record to achieve this level of sales. In 2015, the song would enter the Grammy Hall of Fame.

His 1956 recording of “Blueberry Hill”, a 1940 song by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis and Larry Stock reached number 2 on the Billboard Juke Box chart for two weeks and was number 1 on the R&B chart for 11 weeks. It was his biggest hit, selling more than 5 million copies worldwide in 1956 and 1957. Domino had further hit singles between 1956 and 1959, including “When My Dreamboat Comes Home” (Pop number 14), “I’m Walkin'” (Pop number 4), “Valley of Tears” (Pop number 8), “It’s You I Love” (Pop number 6), “Whole Lotta Loving” (Pop number 6), “I Want to Walk You Home” (Pop number 8), and “Be My Guest” (Pop number 8).

Domino died on October 24, 2017, at his home in Harvey, Louisiana, at the age of 89, from natural causes, according to the coroner’s office.

Domino was one of the biggest stars of rock and roll in the 1950s and one of the first R&B artists to gain popularity with white audiences.

Happy Birthday Mr. Domino. A couple of generations of rock music lovers owe you so much.




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