FATS DOMINO Biography - Musicians


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Name: Antoine Dominique Domino                                                               
Born: February 26, 1928 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States                                 
Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino (born February 26, 1928) is a classic R&B and                 
rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter and (according to Joel Whitburn's                 
Billboard books) was the best selling R&B artist of the 1950s.                               
Domino was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He first attracted national attention             
with "The Fat Man" in 1949 on Imperial Records. This song is an early rock and               
roll record, featuring a rolling piano and Domino doing "wah-wah" vocalizing                 
over a fat back beat. Fats domino then released a series of hit songs with                   
producer and co-writer Dave Bartholomew, saxophonists Herbert Hardesty and Alvin             
"Red" Tyler and drummer Earl Palmer. Other notable and long-standing musicians               
in Domino's band were saxophonists Reggie Houston, Lee Allen, and Fred Kemp, who             
was also Domino's trusted bandleader. Domino finally crossed into the pop                     
mainstream with "Ain't That a Shame" (1955), which hit the Top Ten, though Pat               
Boone characteristically hit #1 with a milder cover of the song that received                 
wider radio airplay in a racially-segregated era. Domino would eventually                     
release 37 Top 40 singles, "Whole Lotta Loving" and "Blue Monday" among them.                 
His 1956 uptempo version of the 1940 Vincent Rose, Al Lewis & Larry Stock song,               
"Blueberry Hill" reached #2 in the Top 40, was #1 on the R&B charts for 11 weeks,             
and was his biggest hit. "Blueberry Hill" sold more than 5 million copies                     
worldwide in 1956-57. The song had earlier been recorded by Gene Autry, and                   
Louis Armstrong among many others.                                                           
Fats appeared in two films released in 1956: Shake, Rattle & Rock! and The                   
Girl Can't Help It. On December 18, 1957, Domino's hit "The Big Beat" was                     
featured on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.                                                 
Domino continued to have a steady series of hits for Imperial through early 1962,             
including "Walkin' to New Orleans" (1960) written by Bobby Charles. Twenty-two               
of his Imperial singles were double-sided hits. After he moved to ABC-Paramount               
Records in 1963, however, Domino's chart career was drastically curtailed. He                 
had a hit with "Red Sails In The Sunset" (1963) but by the end of 1964, the                   
British Invasion had changed the tastes of the record-buying public, and Domino's             
chart run was over.                                                                           
Despite the lack of chart success, Domino continued to record steadily until                 
about 1970, and sporadically after that. He also continued as a popular live act             
for several decades. He was furthermore acknowledged as an important influence               
on the music of the 1960s and 1970s by some of the top artists of that era; Paul             
McCartney reportedly wrote the Beatles song "Lady Madonna" in an emulation of                 
Domino's style. Domino did manage to return to the "Hot 100" charts a final time             
in 1968.                                                                                     
In the 1980s, Domino decided he would no longer leave New Orleans, having a                   
comfortable income from royalties and a dislike for touring, and claiming he                 
could not get any food that he liked anyplace else. His induction into the Rock               
and Roll Hall of Fame and an invitation to perform at the White House failed to               
persuade Domino to make an exception to this policy.                                         
Fats Domino was persuaded to perform periodically out of town, by Dianna                     
Chenevert, agent, founder & president of New Orleans based Omni Attractions,                 
during the 1980s & early 1990s. Most of these engagements were in and around New             
Orleans, but sometimes included Texas (like at the West End Market Place in                   
downtown Dallas on Oct. 24, 1986).                                                           
On October 12, 1983 USA Today reported that Domino was included in Chenevert’s "Southern   
Stars" promotional poster for the agency (along with historically preserving                 
childhood photographs of other famous living musicians from New Orleans &                     
Louisiana on it). Fats provided a photograph of his first recording session for               
the poster, which was the only one he had left from his childhood. Domino                     
autographed these posters, whose recipients included USA Today's president Al                 
Newharth, and Peter Morton founder of the Hard Rock Cafe. Times-Picayune                     
columnist Betty Guillaud noted on September 30, 1987 that Domino also provided               
Chenevert with an autographed pair of his shoes (and signed a black grand piano               
lid) for the Hard Rock location in New Orleans. Back then none of us knew what               
the future would hold for New Orleans in 2005 and how much these little bits of               
memorabilia would bring some comfort, after so much loss.                                     
Domino lived in a mansion in a predominantly working-class Lower Ninth Ward                   
neighborhood, where he was a familiar sight in his bright pink Cadillac. He                   
makes yearly appearances at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and other             
local events. Domino was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.               
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him #25 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists             
of All Time."