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Fats Domino

Fats Domino in concert in France, 1992.
Background information
Birth name Antoine Dominique Domino
Also known as Fats
Born February 26, 1928 (1928-02-26) (age 82)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres R&B, rock and roll, piano blues, boogie-woogie
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1949–present
Labels Imperial, ABC, Mercury, Broadmoor, Reprise, Sonet, Warner Bros. Records, Toot Toot

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

Contents

Biography

Antoine was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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

Fats Domino 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.[1] Combining a number of his hits along with some tracks which had not yet been released as singles,[1] the album went on under its alternate title to reach #17 on the "Pop Albums" chart.[2]

His 1956 up-tempo 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. He had further hit singles between 1956 and 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![3] and The Girl Can't Help It.[4] 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) (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. 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, Dave Bartholomew's small Broadmoor label (reuniting with Bartholomew along the way), and Reprise. He also continued as a popular live act for several decades.

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 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 and Louisiana on it).[5] 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 September 30, 1987 that Domino also provided Chenevert with an autographed pair of his shoes[6] (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 automobile. 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 1998, President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts.[7] In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him #25 on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."[8]

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 September 1, 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 September 2, they had left Russell's apartment after sleeping three nights on the couch. "We've lost everything", Domino said, according to the Post.[9]

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 August 29, 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 January 12, 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 May 19, 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.[10]

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.

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.[citation needed] 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, "I'm Ready".[11][12] Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney later recorded Fats Domino songs. Domino's rhythm, accentuating the offbeat as in the song "Be My Guest", was an influence on ska music.[13] Ray Manzarek, keyboard player from The Doors has also stated a big influence from Fats Domino, on the "History of Rock and Roll" documentary series.

Singles discography

Nationally charted hits shown in bold.

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 Imperial 5369 6
Bo Weevil 1956 Imperial 5375 35 5
Don't Blame It on Me 1956 Imperial 5375 9
I'm in Love Again March 1956 Imperial 5386 3 1 12
My Blue Heaven 19 5
When My Dreamboat Comes Home July 1956 Imperial 5396 14 2
So Long 44 5
Blueberry Hill September 1956 Imperial 5407 2 1 6
Honey Chile 2 29
Blue Monday December 1956 Imperial 5417 5 1 23
What's the Reason I'm Not Pleasing You 50 12
I'm Walkin' I'm in the Mood for Love February 1957 Imperial 5428 4 1 19
The Rooster Song My Happiness//As Time Goes By//Hey La Bas (4 song EP) 1957 Imperial 147 13 8
Valley of Tears April 1957 Imperial 5442 8 2 25
It's You I Love 6 2
When I See You July 1957 Imperial 5454 29 14
What Will I Tell My Heart 64 12
Wait and See September 1957 Imperial 5467 23 7
I Still Love You 79
The Big Beat December 1957 Imperial 5477 26 15 20
I Want You to Know 32
Yes My Darling Don't You Know I Love You February 1958 Imperial 5492 55 10
Sick and Tired April 1958 Imperial 5515 22 14 26
No, No 55 14
Little Mary Prisoner's Song July 1958 Imperial 5526 48 4
Young School Girl It Must Be Love August 1958 Imperial 5537 92 15
Whole Lotta Loving October 1958 Imperial 5553 6 2 10
Coquette 92 26
Telling Lies January 1959 Imperial 5569 50 13
When the Saints Go Marching In 50
I'm Ready April 1959 Imperial 5585 16 7
Margie Imperial 5585 51 18
I Want to Walk You Home July 1959 Imperial 5606 8 1 14
I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday 17 22
Be My Guest October 1959 Imperial 5629 8 2 11
I've Been Around 33 19
Country Boy January 1960 Imperial 5645 25 19
If You Need Me 98
Tell Me That You Love Me April 1960 Imperial 5660 51
Before I Grow Too Old 84 17
Walking to New Orleans June 1960 Imperial 5675 6 2 19
Don't Come Knockin' 21 28
Three Nights a Week August 1960 Imperial 5687 15 8 45
Put Your Arms Around Me Honey 58
My Girl Josephine October 1960 Imperial 5704 14 7 32
Natural Born Lover 38 28
Ain't That Just Like a Woman January 1961 Imperial 5723 33 19
What a Price 22 7
Shu Rah March 1961 Imperial 5734 32
Fell in Love on Monday 32
It Keeps Rainin' I Just Cry May 1961 Imperial 5753 23 18 49
Let The Four Winds Blow Good Hearted Man July 1961 Imperial 5764 15 2
What A Party September 1961 Imperial 5779 22 43
Rockin' Bicycle 83
I Hear You Knocking November 1961 Imperial 5796 67
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) 30 41
You Win Again February 1962 Imperial 5816 22
Ida Jane 90
My Real Name My Heart Is Bleeding May 1962 Imperial 5833 59 22
Dance with Mr. Domino July 1962 Imperial 5863 98
Nothing New (Same Old Thing) 77
Did You Ever See a Dream Walking September 1962 Imperial 5875 79
Stop the Clock 103
Won't You Come on Back Hands Across the Table November 1962 Imperial 5895
Hum Diddy Doo Those Eyes January 1963 Imperial 5909 124
You Always Hurt the One You Love Trouble Blues March 1963 Imperial 5937 102
True Confession Isle of Capri May 1963 Imperial 5959
One Night I Can't Go on This Way 1963 Imperial 5980
There Goes (My Heart Again) May 1963 ABC 10444 59
Can't Go on Without You 123
When I'm Walking (Let Me Walk) July 1963 ABC 10475 114
I've Got a Right to Cry 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 August 1963 Imperial 66005 114
Who Cares 1963 ABC 10512 63 27
Just a Lonely Man 1963 ABC 10512 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 ABC 10531 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. 49610

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography: Complete Discographies Listing Every Track Recorded by More Than 1,200 Artists. Canongate U.S.. pp. 434. ISBN 1841956155. http://books.google.com/books?id=_WoRAPJQ58sC&pg=PA436&dq=%22Fats+Domino%22+album+discography&client=firefox-a#PPA434,M1. 
  2. ^ Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino Billboard Albums at Allmusic
  3. ^ "Shake, Rattle & Rock!". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049749/. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  4. ^ "The Girl Can't Help It". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049263/. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  5. ^ White, Miles. "Southern Stars Poster", USA Today, 12 October 1983, LIFELINE column “TOUTS” p. 1D wrote: "Southern Stars, a poster-size collection of childhood pictures of famous living musicians from New Orleans and Louisiana, has been printed in a limited edition of 1,000. The star-studded poster, which took eight months to construct, features early pictures of Fats Domino, Gatemouth Brown, Frogman Henry, the Neville Brothers, Frankie Ford, Ernie K-Doe and dozens more. Some are calling it a work of art. But instead of being sold, framed and autographed copies of the poster are being given to anyone booking one of the musicians through Omni Attractions, a local talent agency." NOTE: The agency was located on the corner of Valence & Tchopitoulas Streets, but moved when the building was sold & Chenevert discontinued booking musicians by 1995.
  6. ^ Guillaud, Betty. "Fats Domino's Shoes: Hitting the high notes from coast to coast", Times-Picayune, 30 September 1987, p. E4. "Here in the middle of it all is Dianna Chenevert, who’s chasing stars with a Crescent City connection for head rocker Peter Morton, founder of the famous Hard Rock Cafes. Morton’s latest link in his around-the-world chain will open here December 11 in Jax Brewery with a benefit for the New Orleans Children’s Museum. Dianna, a local booking agent, is putting the final decorative touches on the club with memorabilia from such local stars as Fats Domino, who’s donating a pair of shoes, the better for “Walking to New Orleans,” one of his hits that’s even bigger than he is."
  7. ^ Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts
  8. ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/5939214/the_immortals_the_first_fifty. 
  9. ^ Saslow, Eli (September 2 2005). "Music Legend 'Fats' Domino Coping With Katrina". washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/02/AR2005090201578.html. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  10. ^ "Fats Domino 'Alive And Kicking'". cbsnews.com. February 25 2006. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/25/eveningnews/main1346150.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  11. ^ Rosen, Steven (2009-06-26). "The Early Rock ‘n’ Roll Comeback Albums". Sonic Boomers. http://www.sonicboomers.com/shelflife/early-rock-n-roll-comeback-albums. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  12. ^ Coleman, Rick (2006), Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the lost dawn of rock 'n' roll, Da Capo Press, p. 244, ISBN 0306814919, http://books.google.com/books?id=Galk1rd04GEC 
  13. ^ Coleman, Rick (2006), Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the lost dawn of rock 'n' roll, Da Capo Press, p. 210, ISBN 0306814919, http://books.google.com/books?id=Galk1rd04GEC&pg=PA210&lpg=PA210 

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