Rock’n’Roll Pioneer Fats Domino Dead At Age 89

Posted by Billyjam, October 25, 2017 01:23pm | Post a Comment
Album cover of Live In Austin, TX LP (also on CD) issue by Fats Domino who died today at age 89.

Today it was announced that Antoine Dominique Domino Jr., aka American music icon Fats Domino, has died at age 89. The influential  rhythm-and-blues (R&B) vocal powerhouse / boogie-woogie piano player and rock’n’roll pioneer was responsible for literally dozens of timeless hit singles from over half a century ago such as "Ain't That a Shame," “Blueberry Hill,” “I Hear You Knocking,” “The Fat Man,” “I’m Walkin’,” “Whole Lotta Lovin,” “I’m Ready,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.” The New Orleans, Louisiana born and perennially proud native, who grew up in the Big Easy’s Ninth Ward and always lived in N.O.  (famously refusing to leave his home during Hurricane Katrina in 2005), died at his latter era Louisiana home located just seven miles outside New Orleans, according to a statement by his brother-in-law Reggie Hall who was his former road manager. So far no exact cause of death has been announced.

Proudly rotund, “Fats” was long known for being an upbeat happy music loving character and the life of the  party whenever he played in clubs, beginning in his teens. From age ten Fats Domino was drawn to the piano, an instrument that he mostly self-taught himself to play to accompany his powerful singing voice. His boogie-woogie styled playing and commanding soulful head-nodding singing, that was often sprinkled with words he’d make up, led to him landing a record deal at age 21 with Imperial Records. His first big hit for that label was “The Fat Man” (also his nick name) recorded in 1949 and becoming a hit two years later. That track, like many of his later hits, was technically a "rhythm and blues" song. However this African American created music would soon after morph into and/or be considered “rock’n’roll.” That was back in a racially segregated era (both societal and music chart wise) when R&B music was adapted and revised for white audiences to become rock'n'roll. Routinely black artists’ music would be covered by white artists to be marketed with a white face to a mainstream audience. A prime example was Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” (aka “Ain’t It a Shame”) that comparatively soul-less white singer Pat Boone would cover and score a number one pop hit with. Over time Fats Domino would get the mainstream exposure and acceptance that he deserved, ultimately leaving a legacy unmatched by anyone else.

Although an R&B or rock-n-roll musician, the Louisiana proud artist would often make a point of infusing traces of his creole roots and New Orleans musical heritage into his recordings and performances. A true American music icon and once a major pop figure, particularly in the fifties and first half of the sixties, Fats Domino scored over thirty hit singles. Both originals (many co-penned with producer/collaborator David Bartholomew) and reworkings of such classics as “Jambalaya” and “Blueberry Hill” Fats Domino’s hit singles discography boasted a combined total of 65 million in record sales!  Many of these are included below in a series of videos (some audio only) that offer a sampling of songs made famous by Fats Domino including latter decade live performances of his hits. There’s also the Joe Lauro directed documentary “The Big Beat: The Story of Fats Domino and His Band” that offers a wonderful insight into the life of this amazing American artist. Among the many Fats Domino albums available from Amoeba (many singles collections and live concert recordings) include Live At Montreux, Live in Austin TX (also on vinyl/LP),  the Ace Records series volumes The Imperial Singles Vol. 2 [1953-1956],   The Imperial Sngles Vol. 4 [1959-1961], and  The Imperial Singles Vol 5 [1962-1965],  the Milan Records 24 track hit-packed CD collection  Collector, and the Capitol Records 30 track hits collection Greatest Hits - Walking To New Orleans. Click here for full listing.

Fats Domino “Ain’t That A Shame” (1955)

Fats Domino “Let The Four Winds Blow” (1962)

Fats Domino “I’m Walking (live at Jazz Festival -The Hague Holland circa 1976)

Fats Domino & Dave Bartholomew “Various tracks live in Austin (1986)”

Fats Domino “Jambalaya (live in The Netherlands)

Fats Domino “I Hear You Knocking” (audio-only)

Fats Domino documentary “The Big Beat: The Story of Fats Domino and His Band”

Fats Domino “Darktown Strutters' Ball” (audio with added visuals)

Fats Domino “Kansas City” (audio only)

Relevant Tags

Boogie-woogie (1), Fats Domino (5), New Orleans (56), Imperial Records (1), Rock'n'roll (2), R&b (20)