Singer Fats Domino died at the age of 89-years old on Tuesday. Domino was one of the biggest stars of the early rock & roll era, fighting racial segregation in the 50s and delivering multiple hits.
His death was confirmed by Jefferson Parish coroner’s office. He’s survived by his eight children Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola, and Adonica.
A Farewell To Domino, A Rock Legend
The New Orleans native, died Tuesday at his home in Harvey LA. Domino became a dominant commercial force in pop music in the Fifties, earning 23 gold-certified singles.
He had more than three dozen Top 40 hits through the 1950s and the early ’60s, including ‘Blueberry Hill,’ ‘Ain’t It a Shame’, ‘I’m Walkin’,’Blue Monday’ and ‘Walkin’ to New Orleans.’ Domino was dubbed “the real king of rock & roll” by none other than Elvis Presley.
His last appearance in the Top 100 was in 1968, with a version of The Beatles‘ ‘Lady Madonna.’ He last performed in 2007 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In recent years he retrieved from life in the spotlight and lived a quiet life in his native New Orleans.
Friends and fellow artists took to social media to honor the late singer.
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 26, 2017
I found My Thrill on " Blueberry Hill"! RIP Fats Domino
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 25, 2017
Words fail me in this moment of deep heartache and sadness. We have lost a legend. One of my heroes. New Orleans’ Fats Domino is dead. pic.twitter.com/HZNbQRI889
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 25, 2017
About Domino’s early years and his fight with segregation
Fats Domino was born on February 26, 1928, in New Orleans, to a family of nine children.
Domino found his love for music early in life and taught himself popular piano styles — ragtime, blues, and boogie-woogie — after his cousin left an old upright in the house.
“Back then I used to play everybody’s records; everybody’s records who made records,” he told the New Orleans music magazine Offbeat in 2004. “I used to hear ’em, listen at ’em five, six, seven, eight times and I could play it just like the record because I had a good ear for catchin’ notes and different things.”
He quit school at 14 and worked days in a factory while performing in local places at night. He worked at a club called the Hideaway with a band led by the bassist Billy Diamond, who nicknamed him Fats.
Domino soon became the band’s frontman and a local draw. And in 1949 he was signed by Imperial record company. He recorded his first song, ‘The Fat Man,’ in the back of a tiny French Quarter recording studio.
“They call me the Fat Man, because I weigh 200 pounds, all the girls, they love me, ’cause I know my way around,” he sang.
The track was a hit selling over one million copies and has been called the first rock & roll record. Domino shaped the new genre by providing Imperial with rhythm and blues, as well as hits for the next five years, such as ‘Rockin’ Chair’ and ‘You Done Me Wrong.’
His appeal to white teenagers grew as he embarked in tours and appeared on mixed-race venues. He also appeared on national television, on Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan’s shows.That same year, Elvis Presley dubbed him the real king of the genre.
“A lot of people seem to think I started this business. But rock ‘n’ roll was here a long time before I came along,” Presley told reporters in 1957. “Let’s face it,” he conceded, “I can’t sing like Fats Domino can. I know that.”
Following his last appearance in the Top 100 in 1968, Domino continued to perform worldwide and held a Las Vegas residency for 10 months.
Musical achievements and becoming a truly New Orleans fixture
Domino’s life on the road ended in the early 1980s when he decided that he didn’t want to leave New Orleans, stating it was the only place where he liked the food.
He was one of the first 10 honorees named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he attended the ceremony but didn’t take part of the performance. The Rolling Stone Record Guide even likened his contribution to rock comparing him to Benjamin Franklin and the revolutionary movement.
Also, in 1998, he became the first purely rock ‘n’ roll musician to be awarded the National Medal for the Arts. At the time, Domino cited his age and didn’t make the trip to the White House to get the medal from President Clinton, he sent his daughter instead.
The singer’s 1956 version of ‘Blueberry Hill’ was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of historic sound recordings worthy of preservation.
“New Orleans roots are evident in the Creole inflected cadences that add richness and depth to the performance,” noted the preservation board of Domino.
Source: The Washington Post