Antoine "Fats" Domino


In 1949 Fats Domino released the song "The Fat Man" which soon became a rhythm and blues hit. In 1953 the record went gold. The song was actually a sanitized version of an older song about drugs called "The Junkers Blues." Some music historians consider "The Fat Man" to be the first rock and roll hit. Most historians consider Fats Domino, the smiling, friendly, boogie-woogie piano player from New Orleans a progenitor of the rock and roll genre. While no one person or song can really definitively lay claim to such a title as the "first" rock song or musician there is little doubt that for nearly 13 years Fats Domino with his string of hits played a seminal role in the history of the rock and roll revolution. He was, in 1986, one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Antoine Domino was born in New Orleans. At age 7 his brother-in-law, Harrison Verrett, taught him to play the piano. By age 10 he was playing the piano in public. His style was much influenced by musicians like Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. From Little Willie Littlefield Domino learned his trademark piano triplet style. After high school while working in a New Orleans factory Domino began playing in night clubs. It was at one such club, The Hideway, that trumpeter David Bartholomew heard him playing. Bartholomew and Domino formed a partnership that spawned a remarkable number of hit tunes.

During the 1950s Fats Domino sold more records than any other black musician. His 1955 hit "Ain't That a Shame" is said to have been one of the first rock and roll songs John Lennon listened to and the Beatles have acknowledged the influence of Domnio on their music. Between 1955 and 1963 Fats Domino had 35 "top 40" singles on the charts. Hits such as "Blueberry Hill" and "My Blue Heaven" did much to merge white and black music together and make the rock and roll market a viable money-making enterprise. White singers like Pat Boone were successful by singing covers of Fats Domino's songs.

Atypical of musicians Fats Domino has never trashed a hotel room and he's never been busted for drugs. He's been married to the same woman, Rosemary, for over forty years and together they have eight children.

In addition to his 1986 award from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the affable Domino received a Life Achievement Award during the 1987 Grammy Awards. In 1998 U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded Fats Domino the National Medal of Arts.

To date Fats Domino has sold some 65 million records all over the world.

Fats Domino- 2001 Cosmic Player Plate
Published: January 2, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Cosmic Baseball Association