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The Life Of Fats Domino
The life of Antoine Dominique Fats Domino, Jr. started in the musically inclined city of New Orleans. As a native of Louisiana, home of Creole, Fats Domino was raised speaking Creole. Fats Domino went on in life to become one of the most notable American R&B and rock and roll musicians of all time. He is known for his unique style as a pianist and singer-songwriter.
Fats Domino was born on February 26, 1928, the iconic musician was first discovered because of his break out hit of “The Fat Man”. Recorded in 1949 by Imperial records, it quickly caught the attention of the public which rocketed the song up the charts. The album eventually sold over a million copies and was the first known rock record to accomplish this feat. The song itself was in the early rock and roll style featuring Domino and a distinct “wah-wah” vocal and a heavy back beat.
Dave Bartholomew (producer, song-writer), Herbert Hardesty (saxophonist) and Alvin “Red” Tyler (drummer) became the backbone of a series of hits that Domino was associated with. The majority of the hits that Domino received were a result of his association with Fred Kemp, Lee Allen and Reggie Houston who were all saxophonists. Fred Kemp also worked as the band leader for Fats Domino.
The first real mainstream pop hit for the singer was “Ain’t That A Shame” (1955). Even through the song hit the top ten, it was edged out by the same song rerecorded by Pat Boone whose song went to number one. This was characteristic of the time when it was acceptable to be racially insensitive.
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Even with the racially charged times, Fats Domino was still able to enjoy 37 top 40 singles. Many of the hits came from the first album, Carry on Rockin’ (1955, Imperial Records). In 1956, a compilation album of his top hits was released including hits and unreleased songs. The album went on the pop album chart.
The biggest hit recorded for Domino was a cover of the Vincent Rose, Al Lewis & Larry Stock song, “Blueberry Hill” which was originally recorded in 1940. His 1956 rendition topped the charts for 11 weeks. The song sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Also known for singing the song previously were Gene Autry and Louis Armstrong.
Fats Domino: 1956-57
Between 1956 and 1957, some of Fats Dominos Songs included “When My Dreamboat Comes Home” (Pop %2314). “I’m Walkin” (Pop %234), "Valley of Tears" (Pop %238), "It's You I Love" (Pop %236), "Whole Lotta Loving" (Pop %236), "I Want to Walk You Home" (Pop %238), and "Be My Guest" (Pop %238). There were film appearances for the singer as well including The Girl Can’t Help It! and Shake, Rattle and roll in 1956. His big feature with Dick Clark’s American Bandstand was “The Big Beat”.
One of the biggest tragedies in Fats Domino's career was when a riot started during the show in Fayetteville, NC. When the police showed up on that January 2, 1956 night, they used tear gas to subdue the crowds. Fats Domino was so scared that he jumped out a window to avoid injury. Some of the band members were injures in the process.
Imperial Records eventually sold the label and Domino walked away feeling that he did not want to be a part of the new venture. In his life, he recorded over 60 singles.