CAIRO – 27 October 2017: Fats Domino, the rock ‘n’ roll legend who inspired the Beatles and helped shape the future of popular music, passed away Tuesday, October 24 at the age of 89.
Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. was born on February 26, 1928. He was the youngest of eight children, coming from a family of French-speaking Creoles living in New Orleans. A natural born musician, Domino was playing in honky-tonk bands when he was just 10, and by the time he was 14, he quit school entirely to devote himself to music. During the day, he worked odd jobs to support his musical career at night.
Come 1949 and the release of Domino’s first boogie-woogie single “The Fat Man”, speculated to be the earliest example of rock ‘n’ roll, turned him into a star overnight, selling over a million copies. His next hit would come in 1955 with the release of “Ain’t That a Shame”. Reaching the top of the charts, this was the song that really broke Domino through to the public.
His cover of “Blueberry Hill” in 1956 proved to surpass all his other hits, selling well over 5 million copies and reaching #2 on the charts. Domino would produce several more crossover hits and star in various rock ‘n’ roll films, with Elvis Presley himself calling Domino the “King of Rock and Roll”.
Alas, as the 1960s rolled in, Domino was swept away by new talent, such as the Beatles, who, regardless, credited him as one of their major inspirations. The loss of his recording label, Imperial Records, and the attempt by his next one to soften his music and make him more marketable were the final nails in the coffin, and by 1980, Domino stepped down and opted to enter semi-retirement. He stayed in his home in New Orleans and vowed never to leave the country under any circumstance.
And indeed, he stuck to his word, even after Hurricane Katrina struck his beloved home in 2005. Domino was feared dead by his beloved fans, but he was safely found in his home above the flood waters. He returned to New Orleans as soon as he was able to.
Alas, the storm had destroyed his home, including his piano and trophies. From that point on, Domino spent the remainder of his life helping to rebuild the country, and in 2007, the album “Goin’ Home”, featuring covers of his songs by singers such as Elton John and Paul McCartney, was released in order to help aid in the rebuilding.
Domino’s footprint on music was legendary, and after his death, McCartney honored him with a statement released on his official website, where he praised him for being such an immense influence on the Beatles and indeed, all of rock and roll:
“Rest in peace Fats Domino, the great rock ’n’ roll pianist and singer who thrilled us in our early days in Liverpool. His hit records like ‘Ain’t That a Shame’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘I’m In Love Again’ and many others introduced us to the sounds of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll.
We were excited to meet Fats once in his home town of New Orleans. He was wearing a huge star-spangled diamond-encrusted watch, which was our first encounter with bling!
“His voice, piano playing and musical style was a huge influence on us, and his appearance in the film ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ was truly magnificent. As one of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll singers, I will remember him fondly and always think of him with that twinkle in his eye. I read that he had eight children. He himself was named Antoine. His kids were named Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. Now that is pure Fats!”