Fats Domino

Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino (born February 26, 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an R&B and rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter.


Biography


Imperial Records era (1949-1962)

Domino 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. It sold over a million copies and is widely regarded as the first rock and roll record to do so.


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.


Domino's first album, Carry on Rockin', was released under the Imperial imprint, #9009, in November 1955 and subsequently reissued as Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino in 1956. Combining a number of his hits along with some tracks which had not yet been released as singles, the album went on under its alternate title to reach #17 on the "Pop Albums" chart.


His 1956 up tempo version of the 1940 Bobby Cerdeira, 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. He also hit singles between 1956-1959, including "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" (Pop #14), "I'm Walkin'" (Pop #4), "Valley of Tears" (Pop #8), "It's You I Love" (Pop #6), "Whole Lotta Loving" (Pop #6), "I Want to Walk You Home" (Pop #8), and "Be My Guest" (Pop #8).


Fats appeared in two films released in 1956: Shake, Rattle & Rock! and The Girl Can't Help It. On , 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) (Pop #6) co-written by Bobby Charles and "My Girl, Josephine" (Pop #14) from the same year. After Imperial Records was sold to outside interests in early 1963, Domino left the label: "I stuck with them until they sold out", he claimed in 1979. In all, Domino recorded over 60 singles for the label, placing 40 songs in the top 10 on the R&B charts, and scoring 11 top 10 singles on the pop charts. Twenty-two of Domino's Imperial singles were double-sided hits.


Post-Imperial recording career (1963-1970s)

Domino moved to ABC-Paramount Records in,1963 where the label dictated that he would record in Nashville rather than New Orleans. He was assigned a new producer (Felton Jarvis) and a new arranger (Bill Justis) -- Domino's long-term collaboration with producer/arranger/frequent co-writer Dave Bartholomew, who oversaw virtually all of his Imperial hits, was seemingly at an end.


Jarvis and Justis changed the Domino sound somewhat, notably by adding the backing of a countrypolitan-style vocal chorus to most of his new recordings. Perhaps as a result of this tinkering with an established formula, Domino's chart career was drastically curtailed. He released 11 singles for ABC-Paramount, but only had one top 40 entry with "Red Sails In The Sunset" (1963). 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, leaving ABC-Paramount in mid-1965 and recording for a variety of other labels (Mercury, Bartholomew's small Broadmoor label reuniting with Dave Bartholomew along the way, and Reprise). He also continued as a popular live act for several decades.


Influence

He was 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, combining it with a nod to Humphrey Lyttelton's 1956 hit "Bad Penny Blues", a record which Joe Meek had engineered. Domino did manage to return to the "Hot 100" charts one final time in 1968???with his own recording of "Lady Madonna". That recording, as well as covers of two other Beatles songs, appeared on his Reprise LP Fats Is Back, produced by Richard Perry and recorded by a band which included New Orleans piano player James Booker; Domino played piano only on one track. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney later recorded Fats Domino songs. Domino's music such as the song "Be My Guest" was an influence on ska music.


Later career (1980s-2005)

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 any place 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 out of town periodically for Dianna Chenevert, agent, founder and president of New Orleans based Omni Attractions, during the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of these engagements were in and around New Orleans, but also included a concert in Texas at West End Market Place in downtown Dallas on October 24, 1986.


On , 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 and Louisiana on it). Fats provided a photograph of his first recording session, which was the only one he had left from his childhood. Domino autographed these posters, whose recipients included USA Today's Gannett president Al Newharth, and Peter Morton founder of the Hard Rock Cafe. Times-Picayune columnist Betty Guillaud noted on , 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.


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."


Domino and Hurricane Katrina
Graffiti on Domino's home from the time he was rumored dead
Fats Domino's office, June 2007

When Hurricane Katrina was approaching New Orleans in August 2005, Dianna Chenevert encouraged Fats to evacuate, but he chose to stay at home with his family, partly because of his wife's poor health. Unfortunately his house was in an area that was heavily flooded. Chenevert e-mailed writers at the Times Picayune newspaper and the Coast Guard with the Dominos' location.


Someone thought Fats was dead, and spray-painted a message on his home, "RIP Fats. You will be missed", which was shown in news photos. On , Domino's agent, Al Embry, announced that he had not heard from the musician since before the hurricane had struck.


Later that day, CNN reported that Domino was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter. Embry confirmed that Domino and his family had been rescued. The Domino family was then taken to a Baton Rouge shelter, after which they were picked up by JaMarcus Russell, the starting quarterback of the Louisiana State University football team, and Fats' granddaughter's boyfriend. He let the Dominos stay in his apartment. The Washington Post reported that on , they had left Russell's apartment after sleeping three nights on the couch. "We've lost everything", Domino said, according to the Post.


By January 2006, work to gut and repair Domino's home and office had begun. For the meantime, the Domino family is residing in Harvey, Louisiana.


Chenevert replaced the Southern Stars poster Fats Domino lost in Katrina and President George W. Bush also made a personal visit and replaced the medal that President Bill Clinton had previously awarded Fats.


Post-Katrina activity
President George W. Bush shakes the hand of Fats Domino, wearing a National Medal of Arts, after the President presented it on , 2006, at the musician's home in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. The medal was a replacement medal for the one???originally awarded by President Bill Clinton???that was lost in the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina.

Domino was the first artist to be announced as scheduled to perform at the 2006 Jazz & Heritage Festival. However, he was too ill to perform when scheduled and was only able to offer the audience an on-stage greeting. Domino also released an album Alive and Kickin' in early 2006 to benefit the Tipitina's Foundation, which supports indigent local musicians. The title song was recorded after Katrina, but most of the cuts were from unreleased sessions in the 1990s.


On , 2007, Domino was honored with OffBeat magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Best of the Beat Awards held at House of Blues in New Orleans. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin declared the day "Fats Domino Day in New Orleans" and presented Fats Domino with a signed declaration. OffBeat publisher Jan Ramsey and WWL-TV's Eric Paulsen presented Fats Domino with the Lifetime Achievement Award. An all-star musical tribute followed with an introduction by the legendary producer Cosimo Matassa. The Lil' Band O' Gold rhythm section, Warren Storm, Kenny Bill Stinson, David Egan and C.C. Adcock, not only anchored the band, but each contributed lead vocals, swamp pop legend Warren Storm leading off with "Let the Four Winds Blow" and "The Prisoner Song", which he proudly introduced by saying, "Fats Domino recorded this in 1958.. and so did I." The horn section included Lil' Band O' Gold's Dickie Landry, the Iguanas' Derek Huston, and long-time Domino horn men Roger Lewis, Elliot "Stackman" Callier and Herb Hardesty. They were joined by Jon Cleary (who also played guitar in the rhythm section), Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Irma Thomas, George Porter, Jr. (who, naturally, came up with a funky arrangement for "You Keep On Knocking"), Art Neville, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint, who wrote and debuted a song in tribute of Domino for the occasion. Though Domino didn't perform, those near him recall him playing air piano and singing along to his own songs.


Fats Domino returned to stage on , 2007, at Tipitina's at New Orleans, performing to a full house. A foundation has been formed and a show is being planned for Domino and the restoration of his home, where he intends to return someday. "I like it down there" he said in a February, 2006 CBS News interview.


In September 2007, Domino was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday.


In December 2007, Fats Domino was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.


In May 2009, Domino made an unexpected appearance for "The Domino Effect," a namesake concert aimed at raising funds to help rebuild schools and playgrounds damaged by Hurricane Katrina.




Singles discography


Nationally charted hits shown in bold. (Virtually all of Domino's singles of the 1950s and 60s charted regionally in the U.S. south, especially in New Orleans.)


A-Side
B-Side
Year
Label + Cat. No.
Chart positions
US Hot 100
US R&B
UK
Detroit City Blues
The Fat Man
1949
(Imperial 5058)
2
Boogie-Woogie Baby
Little Bee
1950
(Imperial 5065)
Hide Away Blues
She's My Baby
1950
(Imperial 5077)
Hey La Bas Boogie
Brand New Baby
1950
(Imperial 5085)
Every Night about This Time
Korea Blues
1950
(Imperial 5099)
5
Tired of Crying
What's the Matter Baby
1951
(Imperial 5114)
Don't You Lie to Me
Sometimes I Wonder
1951
(Imperial 5123)
Right From Wrong
No, No Baby
1951
(Imperial 5138)
Rockin' Chair
Careless Love
1951
(Imperial 5145)
9
I'll Be Gone
You Know I Miss You
1952
(Imperial 5167)
Goin' Home
Reeling and Rocking
1952
(Imperial 5180)
30
1
Poor Poor Me
Trust in Me
1952
(Imperial 5197)
10
How Long
Dreaming
1952
Imperial 5209)
9
Nobody Loves Me
Cheatin'
1953
(Imperial 5220)
Going to the River
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
1953
(Imperial 5231)
24
2
Please Don't Leave Me
The Girl I Love
1953
(Imperial 5240)
3
Rose Mary
You Said You Loved Me
1953
(Imperial 5251)
10
Something's Wrong
Don't Leave Me This Way
1953
(Imperial 5262)
6
You Done Me Wrong
Little School Girl
1954
(Imperial 5272)
10
Where Did You Stay
Baby Please
1954
(Imperial 5283)
You Can Pack Your Suitcase
I Lived My Life
1954
(Imperial 5301)
Love Me
Don't You Hear Me Calling You
1954
(Imperial 5313)
I Know
Thinking of You
1954
(Imperial 5323)
14
Don't You Know
Helping Hand
1955
(Imperial 5340)
7
Ain't That a Shame
La La
1955
(Imperial 5348)
10
1
23
All By Myself
Troubles of My Own
1955
(Imperial 5357)
1
Poor Me
1955
(Imperial 5369)
1
I Can't Go On
1955
"
6
Bo Weevil
1956
(Imperial 5375)
35
5
Don't Blame It on Me
1956
"
9
I'm in Love Again
1956
(Imperial 5386)
3
1
12
My Blue Heaven
1956
"
19
5
When My Dreamboat Comes Home
1956
(Imperial 5396)
14
2
So Long
1956
"
44
5
Blueberry Hill
1956
(Imperial 5407)
2
1
1
Honey Chile
1956
"
2
29
Blue Monday
1956
(Imperial 5417)
5
1
2
What's the Reason I'm Not Pleasing You
1956
"
50
12
I'm Walkin'
I'm in the Mood for Love
1957
(Imperial 5428)
4
1
19
The Rooster Song
My HappinessAs Time Goes ByHey La Bas (4 song EP)
1957
(Imperial 147)
13
8
Valley of Tears
1957
(Imperial 5442)
8
2
25
It's You I Love
1957
"
6
2
What Will I Tell My Heart
1957
(Imperial 5454)
64
12
When I See You
1957
"
29
14
Wait and See
1957
(Imperial 5467)
23
7
I Still Love You
1957
"
79
The Big Beat
1957
(Imperial 5477)
26
15
20
I Want You to Know
1957
"
32
Yes My Darling
Don't You Know I Love You
1958
(Imperial 5492)
55
10
Sick and Tired
1958
(Imperial 5515)
22
14
26
No, No
1958
"
55
14
Little Mary
Prisoner's Song
1958
(Imperial 5526)
48
4
Young School Girl
It Must Be Love
1958
(Imperial 5537)
92
15
Whole Lotta Loving
1958
(Imperial 5553)
6
2
10
Coquette
1958
"
92
26
Telling Lies
1959
(Imperial 5569)
50
13
When the Saints Go Marching In
1959
"
50
I'm Ready
1959
(Imperial 5585)
16
7
Margie
1959
"
51
18
I Want to Walk You Home
1959
(Imperial 5606)
8
1
14
I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday
1959
"
17
22
Be My Guest
1959
(Imperial 5629)
8
2
11
I've Been Around
1959
"
33
19
If You Need Me
1960
(Imperial 5645)
98
Country Boy
1960
"
25
19
Before I Grow Too Old
1960
(Imperial 5660)
84
17
Tell Me That You Love Me
1960
"
51
Walking to New Orleans
1960
(Imperial 5675)
6
2
19
Don't Come Knockin'
1960
"
21
28
Three Nights a Week
1960
(Imperial 5687)
15
8
45
Put Your Arms Around Me Honey
1960
"
58
My Girl Josephine
1960
(Imperial 5704)
14
7
32
Natural Born Lover
1960
"
38
28
Ain't That Just Like a Woman
1961
(Imperial 5723)
33
19
What a Price
1961
"
22
7
Shu Rah
1961
(Imperial 5734)
32
Fell in Love on Monday
1961
"
32
It Keeps Rainin'
I Just Cry
1961
(Imperial 5753)
23
18
49
Let The Four Winds Blow
Good Hearted Man
1961
(Imperial 5764)
15
2
What A Party
1961
(Imperial 5779)
22
43
Rockin' Bicycle
1961
"
83
I Hear You Knocking
1961
(Imperial 5796)
67
Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
1961
"
30
41
You Win Again
1962
(Imperial 5816)
22
Ida Jane
1962
"
90
My Real Name
My Heart Is Bleeding
1962
(Imperial 5833)
59
22
Dance with Mr. Domino
1962
(Imperial 5863)
98
Nothing New (Same Old Thing)
1962
"
77
Did You Ever See a Dream Walking
1962
(Imperial 5875)
79
Stop the Clock
1962
"
103
Won't You Come on Back
Hands Across the Table
1962
(Imperial 5895)
Hum Diddy Doo
Those Eyes
1963
(Imperial 5909)
124
You Always Hurt the One You Love
Trouble Blues
1963
(Imperial 5937)
102
True Confession
Isle of Capri
1963
(Imperial 5959)
One Night
I Can't Go on This Way
1963
(Imperial 5980)
There Goes (My Heart Again)
1963
(ABC 10444)
59
Can't Go on Without You
1963
"
123
When I'm Walking (Let Me Walk)
1963
(ABC 10475)
114
I've Got a Right to Cry
1963
"
128
Red Sails in the Sunset
Song For Rosemary
1963
(ABC 10484)
35
24
34
I Can't Give You Anything But Love
Goin' Home
1963
(Imperial 66005)
114
Who Cares
1963
(ABC 10512)
63
27
Just a Lonely Man
1963
"
108
Your Cheatin' Heart
When I Was Young
1964
(Imperial 66016)
112
Lazy Lady
1964
(ABC 10531)
86
34
I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire
1964
"
122
If You Don't Know What Love Is
Something You Got Baby
1964
(ABC 10545)
Mary, Oh Mary
Packin' Up
1964
(ABC 10567)
127
Sally Was a Good Old Girl
For You
1964
(ABC 10584)
99
Kansas City
Heartbreak Hill
1964
(ABC 10596)
99
Why Don't You Do Right
Wigs
1965
(ABC 10631)
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Goodnight Sweetheart
1965
(ABC 10644)
I Done Got Over It
I Left My Heart In San Francisco
1965
(Mercury 72463)
What's That You Got?
It's Never Too Late
1965
(Mercury 72485)
The Lady in Black
Working My Way Up Steady
1967
(Broadmoor 104)
Big Mouth
Wait 'Til It Happens to You
1967
(Broadmoor 105)
One For The Highway
Honest Papas Love Their Mamas Better
1968
(Reprise 0696)
Lady Madonna
One for the Highway
1968
(Reprise 0763)
100
Lovely Rita
Wait 'Till It Happens to You
1968
(Reprise 0775)
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
So Swell When You're Well
1969
(Reprise 0843)
Make Me Belong to You
Have You Seen My Baby
1970
(Reprise 0891)
New Orleans Ain't the Same
Sweet Patootie
1970
(Reprise 0944)
Sleeping on the Job
After Hours
1978
(Sonet 2168 -UK)
Whiskey Heaven
--
1980
(Warner Bros. Records 49610)

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