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Fats Domino: Rock and roll legend dies aged 89


Fats Domino: Rock and roll legend dies aged 89

Image copyright Getty Images

Fats Domino, one of the most influential rock and roll performers of the 1950s and 60s, has died aged 89.

The American rock and roll artist was best known for his songs Ain't That A Shame and Blueberry Hill.

The New Orleans singer sold more than 65 million records, outselling every 1950s rock and roll act except Elvis Presley.

His million-selling debut single, The Fat Man, is credited by some as the first ever rock and roll record.

An official from New Orleans coroner's office confirmed the death, which was earlier announced by Domino's daughter to a local television station.

Image copyright Clive Limpkin
Image caption As far as I know, music makes people happy. I know it makes me happy.

Fats Domino was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain popularity with a white audience and his music was most prolific in the 1950s.

Domino's music has been credited as a key influence on artists during the 1960s and 70s. Elvis Presley introduced Fats at one of his Las Vegas concerts by saying "this gentleman was a huge influence on me when I started out".

Paul McCartney reportedly wrote the Beatles song Lady Madonna in emulation of Domino's style.

In 1986 he was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but by his later life Domino would no longer leave New Orleans – even to accept the award.

New Orleans-born musician and actor Harry Connick Jr is among those who have paid tribute to Domino on Twitter, saying he had "helped pave the way for New Orleans piano players".

Skip Twitter post by @HarryConnickJR

RIP fats domino… you helped pave the way for new orleans piano players… see you on top of that blueberry hill in the sky ❤️????????❤️

— Harry Connick Jr (@HarryConnickJR) October 25, 2017


End of Twitter post by @HarryConnickJR

KT Tunstall thanked the pioneering artist for being an inspiration:

Skip Twitter post by @KTTunstall

Thank you Fats Domino, you were an amazing music teacher on your records ❤️#RIP

— KT Tunstall (@KTTunstall) October 25, 2017


End of Twitter post by @KTTunstall

And Samuel L Jackson paid tribute citing the lyrics of one of Domino's best loved songs:

Skip Twitter post by @SamuelLJackson

I found My Thrill on " Blueberry Hill"! RIP Fats Domino

— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 25, 2017


End of Twitter post by @SamuelLJackson

Fats Domino: A life in music

Image copyright Getty Images

Antoine "Fats" Domino Jr was born in New Orleans on 26 Feb 1928, the son of a violinist. His parents were of Creole origin, and French Creole was spoken in the family.

He was musically inclined from an early age and learned piano from his brother in law, the jazz banjo player, Harrison Verrett.

He was given his nickname by bandleader Bill Diamond for whom he was playing piano in honky-tonks as a teenager. He said the youngster's technique reminded him of two other great piano players, Fats Waller and Fats Pichon.

Domino left school at the age of 14 to work in a bedspring factory by day, and play in bars by night. He was soon accompanying such New Orleans luminaries as Professor Longhair and Amos Milburn.

In the mid-1940s, he joined trumpeter Dave Bartholomew's band, and the two co-wrote Domino's first hit The Fat Man. Suddenly, the New Orleans sound became popular nationwide.

  • Read more about the life of Fats Domino here

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