Fats Domino was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1928 and died in nearby Harvey in October 2017. His first language was Creole, yet he made his fame singing songs in English. He is a rock and roll pianist, singer, and songwriter who has been performing since 1949 when his first hit entitled “The Fat Man” made its way in the US R & B charts to Number 2. In 1950, “Every Night About This Time” made it up to Number 5 on the R & B charts. Six years later, his huge hit “Blueberry Hill” was Number 1 on the R & B charts and Number 2 in the US on the Hot 100. It also became very popular in the UK where it rose to Number 6 on the charts. Some of his other popular hits were “Blue Monday,” “I’m Walkin’,” “The Big Beat,” and “Whole Lotta Loving.” Fats had other big hits between 1958 and 1964. The singer recorded for Imperial Records from 1949 to 1962, recording a total of 60 singles. Out of these, 40 of his songs were hits on R & B charts and 11 made it to the top 10 on pop charts.
Music charts were racially segregated back in the 1950s and 1960s, but Domino made it to the US Hot 100 Hits in 1955 with his hit, “Ain’t That a Shame.” In 1957, his hit, “The Big Beat” was played on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. In 1956 in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Domino needed to jump out of a window when a riot broke out, but most of his audiences simply enjoyed his performances over the years. Domino was a big influence on the music of the 1960s and 1970s. The Beatles’ Paul McCartney supposedly wrote “Lady Madonna” modeled after Domino’s style. Domino also made a version of this song and made it back on the charts in 1968 with it. Years later, Lennon and McCartney recorded Domino’s songs with his unique rhythm. Many other singing stars also sang Domino’s songs over the years, and his style of performing many different genres became a standard for modern music.
Domino’s love for his home in New Orleans took him back to Louisiana where he could find the food that he loved. He had toured for years, making appearances in the U.S. and in Europe, but he greatly disliked being on the road. Once the British singers, beginning with the Beatles, took over the music scene, there was little demand for rock and roll any longer. Domino continued to live on his income from royalties and stayed with his family in the city he loved. He makes appearances at local events, such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and a few others. Domino received impressive awards over the years, including an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Medal of Arts. Another honor was when he was listed as Number 25 on the Rolling Stone “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
Domino was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and his home was totally destroyed. For a while, it was believed that he and his family were dead, but they were rescued by helicopter after a few days and taken to a Baton Rouge shelter. The family lost everything in the hurricane, but the house has since been repaired. President George W. Bush replaced the National Medal of Arts that had been lost in the hurricane. In recent years, Domino has been inducted into other Hall of Fames, such as the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. His contributions to modern music have been recognized and honored over his career, even though he has preferred to stay out of the limelight for many years.