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BARRY LEVINE: Fats Domino’s now the dean of rockers | Arts & Entertainment |

BARRY LEVINE: Fats Domino’s now the dean of rockers | Arts & Entertainment |

BARRY LEVINE: Fats Domino’s now the dean of rockers | Arts & Entertainment |
April 09
09:53 2017

Now that Chuck Berry has gone to rock ‘n’ roll heaven, Antoine “Fats” Domino wears the mantle as the oldest living superstar from the genre’s early days.The New Orleans native and lifetime resident celebrated his 89th birthday in February. Berry was the first rock superstar to celebrate his 90th birthday.Parlaying his unique rhythm-and-blues style, Domino had more than 35 Top 40 hits and sold more records than any 1950s artist with the exception of Elvis Presley.His brother-in-law, Harrison Verrell, a jazz guitarist, taught Domino to play the piano when he was a youngster. Domino acquired his nickname in 1947 from New Orleans bandleader Billy Diamond who said the 5-foot-4 performer reminded him of renowned pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon.Domino gained national attention for the first time in 1949 with his first recording, “The Fat Man,” an early rock ‘n’ roll record featuring a piano and Domino vocalizing “wah-wah” over a strong backbeat. “The Fat Man” sold 1 million copies and is generally considered the first rock-and-roll record to accomplish that.He changed to pop mainstream in 1955 when “Ain’t That a Shame” climbed to No. 10. Pat Boone’s cover version reached No. 1.The record enabled Domino to enjoy success with both black and white audiences.He continued to churn out hit after hit in 1956 with four Top 10 smashes – “I’m in Love Again,” “When My Dreamboat Comes Home.” “Blueberry Hill” and “Blue Monday.”Domino’s version of “Blueberry Hill” was written by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis and Larry Stock in 1940 and was previously recorded by Gene Autry and Louis Armstrong, among others. It reached No. 2 on the charts and was the best-selling song of Domino’s career.He continued to record major hits through 1960 with themes of love and his New Orleans home.A charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Domino was inducted with Presley, Berry, Albany’s Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, James Brown and Jerry Lee Lewis in what must be considered the greatest class in the Hall’s history.Domino was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. In 1998, President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked him No. 25 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”Domino was greatly affected by Hurricane Katrina that hammered New Orleans in August 2005. The storm destroyed his house and his home office.Work to gut and repair his house and home office started in January 2006. Replacing his mementos took special efforts.President George W. Bush visited New Orleans to give Domino a replacement for the National Medal of Arts that President Clinton had awarded him. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Capitol Records, which owned the Imperial Records catalogue (Domino’s label through 1962) replaced all of his gold records.Although Domino’s smash hits faded from the scene during the 1960s, his powerful influence on rock ‘n’ roll remained. Paul McCartney and John Lennon, who wrote most of The Beatles’ songs, revealed that they were greatly influenced by Domino’s music.Domino might be small in stature, but is a giant in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Source: BARRY LEVINE: Fats Domino’s now the dean of rockers | Arts & Entertainment |

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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