Facts about Fats Domino
Fats Domino Biography
Antoine “Fats” Domino recorded dozens of top-40 hits between 1950 and 1966, including early feel-good rock ‘n’ roll classics “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That A Shame.”
Fats Domino grew up in New Orleans, and began playing piano in the band of local bandleader Billy Diamond in 1947. (It was Diamond who gave Domino the nickname “Fats,” allegedly because of a resemblance to pianists Fats Pichon and Fats Waller.) Domino began recording in 1949 with bandleader Dave Bartholomew, who later became his writing and arranging partner on most of his biggest hits; their first tune together, “The Fat Man,” was a hit in 1949.
Despite being popular with black audiences and on top of the rhythm and blues charts in the early 1950s, it wasn’t until white singer Pat Boone covered “Ain’t That A Shame” that Fats became a national celebrity. His distinctive and rollicking sound, based on a rhythmic piano style influenced by boogie-woogie, made him one of the first big stars of rock ‘n’ roll. According to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, Domino “ultimately sold more records (65 million) than any Fifties-era rocker except Elvis Presley. Between 1950 and 1963, he made Billboard’s pop chart 63 times and its R&B chart 59 times.” His biggest hits included “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”
Although the hits stopped coming after the mid-1960s, Fats Domino performed up until the 1980s, when he retired and settled back into life in New Orleans. He was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1998 by President Bill Clinton.
Pop singer Chubby Checker took his stage name as a play on Fats Domino… Pat Boone’s version of “Ain’t That A Shame” reached number one on the charts, but Domino’s version only reached number 10… “Blueberry Hill” was a standard that had been a top hit for Glenn Miller in 1940… Fats Domino went missing after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August of 2005. Days later, his daughter announced that she had seen news footage of Domino being rescued by the Coast Guard and that he was, in fact, safe.