Fats Domino

Fats Domino – circa 1954

“They call, they call me the fat man / ‘Cause I weigh two hundred pounds” – ’The Fat Man’ (Dave Bartholomew, Stanley A. Kessler, Antoine Domino, William E. Taylor)

Not every rock star is a sex symbol.  Fats Domino is a roly-poly figure seated at a piano.  This is not to say he has no charisma.  However Fats’ appeal is a sort of avuncular charm, a genial, welcoming presence.  He may offer a knowing nod or a shy smile but he is unlikely to cause swooning in the audience.

The recording artist who will become famous as Fats Domino (26 February 1928-24 October 2017) is born Antoine Domino, Jr. in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.  The first name is pronounced ‘Ann-Twahn’.  Baby Antoine is born at home, delivered by his midwife grandmother.  Antoine Domino, Sr. and his wife will have nine children including Antoine, Jr.  The family is newly arrived from Vacherie, Louisiana.  They come from a French Creole background.  ‘Creole’ is a term used to identify those descended from settlers in Colonial French Louisiana.  They are usually persons of African ancestry – such as the Domino family.

Antoine Domino, Jr. is raised in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.  His family is musically inclined.  Antoine Domino, Sr. is ‘a well-known violinist.’  However it is the piano that attracts his son.  “When I first started out, every house had the old upright pianos,” Fats recalls.  When the boy is 9 years old, he is shown how to play, the keys marked out for him.  “My brother-in-law used to show me the chords,” says Fats.  His brother-in-law is Harrison Verrett, a jazz guitarist.  Although he is twenty years older than Fats, Harrison Verrett becomes ‘a mainstay for years in Fats’ band on guitar.’  Once he learns to play, ‘music seems to become the consuming interest in Domino’s life.’

“I used to work on an ice truck,” Fats Domino remembers.  “That was when I was, I’d say 12 years old.”  In those times, refrigerators are not yet common household appliances.  Food and drink is kept cool in an ‘ice-box’ or ‘ice-chest’, an item that requires a block of ice.  Hence, young Antoine Domino works on an ice truck, a vehicle that delivers large bricks of ice to neighbourhood homes.  Antoine leaves school when he is 14.  He appears to have no regrets about his truncated academic life.  He later reflects, “A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D. or Ph.D.  Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.”  Antoine Domino is gainfully employed.  “Around 15 I was playin’ in little night clubs three nights a week and from there I used to work in a factory making bed springs.  Around 1945 I started playin’ at a place called The Hideaway.”  His gigs at this venue will soon prove significant, but there are some important events that pre-date that.

In 1947 Antoine Domino, Jr. begins working with a New Orleans band leader named Billy Diamond.  He plays piano in Diamond’s band, The Solid Senders.  It is Diamond who nicknames Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino.  This is said to be after such noted pianists as Fats Waller and Fats Pichon.  However, it would seem a distortion to claim that the sobriquet has no connection to the portly physique of the ivory-tinkler.

In 1948 Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino marries Rosemary Hall.  Just as he came from a large family, Fats and his wife will also have a sizable brood.  They go on to have eight children, four boys and four girls.  In a recurring motif, all the kids are given names starting with the letter ‘A’.  They are: Andre, Adonica, Antoine III, Andrea, Anola, Antonio, Antoinette and Anatole.  Since some of those names are unusual, let’s point out that the girls are Adonica, Andrea, Anola and Antoinette.

Fats Domino continues to play solo gigs at The Hideaway.  In 1949, when Fats is 21, one of these shows is seen by Dave Bartholomew.  A fellow African-American, Dave Bartholomew is a trumpet-player, bandleader, entrepreneur and an artists & repertoire agent for Imperial Records, a label based on the west coast of the U.S.A.  Dave Bartholomew is impressed with Fats Domino.  Bartholomew brings Imperial president Lew Chudd to see the discovery and Fats Domino is subsequently signed to Imperial as a recording artist.

‘The Fat Man’, released in 1949, is the debut single by Fats Domino.  It is ‘a candidate for the first rock ‘n’ roll record.’  The catch is that ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ – as a term and a genre – does not really exist until the mid-1950s.  ‘The Fat Man’ is described as ‘a conventional enough blues.’  It is pounding and insistent, notable for Fats’ falsetto “wa-wa-wa” vocal riff.  ‘The Fat Man’ reaches no. 6 on the rhythm and blues record chart in 1950 – but it is not a pop hit.

At the dawn of the 1950s the pop charts and country charts are almost entirely the province of white recording artists and the hits on these charts sell to white audiences.  The unofficially segregated rhythm and blues chart is similarly devoted to black artists and audiences.  It is rare for a song or artist to cross the lines between the different markets.

Fats Domino’s singles sell well from 1950 to 1955.  All of the following songs are top ten hits on the rhythm and blues charts – but only two of them make the pop charts as well: 1950 – ‘’Every Night About This Time’; 1951 – ‘Rockin’ Chair’; 1952 – ‘Goin’ Home’ (US no. 30), ‘How Long’; 1953 – ‘Goin’ To The River’ (US no. 24), ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’, ‘Rose Mary’, ‘Something’s Wrong’; 1954 – ‘You Done Me Wrong’.  ‘Goin’ Home’ is the only one to reach no. 1 on the rhythm and blues chart.  Artistically, ‘Goin’ To The River’ may be the best of the bunch with Fats’ narrator, a wronged lover, contemplating suicide.  It sports the same falsetto “wa-wa” as ‘The Fat Man’.  Things change in 1955 for Fats Domino with the advent of rock ‘n’ roll.

Fats Domino is one of the first generation of rock stars.  His music helps formulate what is thought of as rock ‘n’ roll.  “What they call rock ‘n’ roll is rhythm and blues that I’ve been playing for fifteen years in New Orleans,” Fats says in his amiable fashion.  Rock ‘n’ roll is usually considered to be born from a merger of (white) country music and (black) rhythm and blues.  Obviously, Fats Domino has rhythm and blues credentials, but he is well placed to accept the new merged form.  “I loved country music!” he exclaims.  Dave Bartholomew, Fats’ collaborator and record producer, expresses a view that he always regarded Domino as a country and western singer.

Fats Domino’s music also draws on a deeper and richer heritage, the musical history of New Orleans.  The city has claims to being the home of jazz as well as blues.  Elements of these styles percolate up through the music of Fats Domino.  Perhaps most important is the work of Professor Longhair (Henry Roeland Byrd), a barrelhouse piano player whose style informs most boogie-woogie piano players, including Fats Domino.  Louis Jordan (born in Arkansas, later of Texas-Oklahoma), a saxophone player fond of lightly humorous songs with a boogie beat, is singled out by Fats Domino as an influence.  Similarly, Amos Milburn’s brand of jump-blues from the U.S. west coast impresses Fats.  One of the hallmarks of Fats Domino’s playing is the use of piano triplets.  Most commonly, beats are divided by two.  A piano triplet squeezes in three notes per beat.  “I heard that one time on an Amos Milburn record,” Fats confesses.  His vocal style is harder to pin down.  “I don’t know where I got that from,” says Mr Domino, “it was just something natural, just the way I talk.”

The majority of Fats Domino’s songs are co-written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.  It is also Dave Bartholomew who serves as producer on these recordings.  “Dave was a good man to work with in the [recording] studio,” Domino acknowledges.  The musicians who play on Fats Domino’s recordings are drawn from Dave Bartholomew’s regular session musicians and members of Fats’ live band.  Collectively, these musicians include: Dave Bartholomew (trumpet), Alvin ‘Red’ Tyler (saxophone), Herb Hardesty (saxophone), Reggie Houston (saxophone), Lee Allen (saxophone), Fred Kemp (saxophone), Walter Nelson (guitar), Frank Fields (bass), Earl Palmer (drums), Smokey Johnson (drums).

Although most of Fats Domino’s recordings are original songs, these are supplemented by his renditions of standards.  A ‘standard’ is ‘a tune or song of established popularity.’  It is a cover version, but a song that has been covered many times by many different artists, perhaps to the point where it is no longer closely identified with any one performer.

When rock ‘n’ roll becomes popular, Fats Domino’s music breaks through to a wider audience.  He has pop hits, not just rhythm and blues hits.  His listeners are white kids as well as black kids.  Fats Domino’s appeal is broad.

Fats Domino’s first real crossover pop hit is ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ (US no. 10, UK no. 23), which is released in August 1955.  Over a punchy, staccato arrangement, Domino sings, “You made me cry / When you said ‘goodbye’ / Ain’t that a shame / My tears fell like rain.”  The singer explains the inspiration for ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ this way: “When I wrote ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ I saw somebody doing something to somebody that they wasn’t supposed to be doing.”

The debut album by Fats Domino, ‘Carry On Rockin’’ (1955) is released in November.  Imperial reissues it the following May as the better known ‘Rock And Rollin’ With Fats Domino’ (1956) (US no. 17).  This set includes past hits such as ‘The Fat Man’, ‘Goin’ To The River’ and ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ as well as his next single, ‘Bo Weevil’.  Also present is ‘Poor Me’ which, despite its self-pitying lyric, is musically strong.  Fats Domino – and indeed the nascent rock ‘n’ roll industry – is more oriented towards singles than albums, but this is perhaps Fats’ best album.  Along with a clutch of classics from his repertoire, it captures him at the crucial moment of rock ‘n’ roll’s birth and his breakthrough to a more general market.

It is necessary to briefly digress in order to explain Imperial Records’ approach to albums and singles.  It is quite alien by modern practices, but not very different to other record companies at the time.  Singles are chosen in a manner that doesn’t always align with the albums released around the same time.  Some old hits go years before popping up on an album, some ‘new’ singles are actually tracks pulled off albums released much earlier.  Popular songs are sometimes rerecorded – or just re-presented – on later albums.  The single is still the focus of the company; albums are little more than a marketing cash-in.

‘Bo Weevil’ (US no. 35) is released as a single in January 1956.  This “sweet little country song” is a rural trill that demonstrates Fats Domino’s facility with a more country and western influenced number.

March 1956 brings the single ‘I’m In Love Again’ (US no. 3, UK no. 12) backed with ‘My Blue Heaven’ (US no. 19).  “Yes it’s me and I’m in love again / Had no lovin’ since you know when,” sings Fats Domino in the former, his voice establishing a dialogue with the blaring saxophone.  This song also carries the humorous plea, “Baby don’t you let your dog bite me!”  ‘My Blue Heaven’ is a standard written in 1924 by George A. Whiting (lyrics) & Walter Donaldson (music).  It is recorded by Tommy Lyman in 1927, is a hit for crooner Gene Austin in 1928 and is also recorded by Jimmie Lunceford in 1935.  Fats Domino gives it a syncopated showbiz rendition.  July 1956 sees the release of ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’ (US no. 14) b/w ‘So Long’ (US no. 44).  The first-named again shows Fats Domino’s ease with country music since ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’ is identified with country music icon Patsy Cline.  ‘So Long’, written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew, is a lowing song of ache.  The first three of these four songs are included on the album ‘Rock And Rollin’ (1956) released in August.  ‘So Long’ appears on Fats’ next album.

Fats Domino’s next single is his greatest.  ‘Blueberry Hill’ (US no. 2, UK no. 6), released in September 1956, becomes Fats Domino’s signature tune.  “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,” Fats confides knowingly and teenage audiences put their own lascivious interpretation on exactly what that means.  This somewhat masks the sorrow present later in the song.  “But all those vows you made / Were never to be / Though we’re apart, you’re part of me still,” the lyrics add.  The strolling melody employed is a classic example of Fats Domino’s style…but he didn’t write ‘Blueberry Hill’.  The authors of the song are Al Lewis, Larry Stock and Vincent Rose.  ‘Blueberry Hill’ was first recorded in 1940 by The Sammy Kaye Orchestra with Tommy Ryan on vocals.  Subsequently, cowboy troubadour Gene Autry recorded a version of ‘Blueberry Hill’ in 1941 while trumpet-player Louis Armstrong put out a version in 1949.  So whose idea was it for Fats Domino to tackle ‘Blueberry Hill’?  “It was my idea,” claims Domino.  “I wanted to do that.  I liked that record ‘cause I heard it by Louis Armstrong and I said, ‘That number’s gonna fit me fine.’”  ‘Blueberry Hill’ is the highpoint of Fats Domino’s career.  Two months later, in November 1956, the song causes a riot at a Fats Domino gig in North Carolina.  ‘Fats is unceremoniously compelled to flee through a window.’

The flipside of ‘Blueberry Hill’, the brassy love song ‘Honey Chile’ (US no. 29), is also a success, albeit on a more modest scale.  ‘Blue Monday’ (US no. 5, UK no. 23) b/w ‘What’s The Reason (I’m Not Pleasing You)?’ (US no. 50) is issued in December 1956.  The jazzy, laid-back ‘Blue Monday’, written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew, starts out saying, “Blue Monday, how I hate blue Monday / Got to work like a slave all day,” and proceeds to count through the days to “Friday I get my pay.”  The tootling ‘What’s The Reason (I’m Not Pleasing You)?’ is another standard, a song recorded by big band leader Jimmie Grier in 1934.  ‘So Long’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, ‘Honey Chile’, ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘What’s The Reason (I’m Not Pleasing You)?’ are all rounded up on the album ‘This Is Fats Domino’ (1956).  It is released in December, just four months after its predecessor.  This rich album also features the silly love song ‘La-La’ and revisits ‘Poor Me’ from two albums earlier.

Fats Domino begins 1957 with March’s ‘I’m Walkin’’ (US no. 4, UK no. 19): “I’m walkin’ yes, indeed / And I’m talkin’ about you and me / I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me.”  This Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew composition is an energetic piece, enlivened by handclaps.  ‘I’m Walkin’’ is included on the March album, ‘Here Stands Fats Domino’ (1957).  Also present is the fun call-and-response of ‘Hey Fat Man’, a solo credit for Fats as songwriter.  ‘Here Stands Fats Domino’ is the artist’s only album release of 1957.

A number of other Fats Domino singles are issued in 1957 but Imperial Records scatters them about various later albums in characteristic – if incomprehensible – fashion.  The other 1957 singles are: April’s ‘Valley Of Tears’ (US no. 8, UK no. 25) b/w ‘It’s You I Love’ (US no. 6); July’s ‘When I See You’ (US no. 29) b/w ‘What Will I Tell My Heart?’ (US no. 64); September’s ‘Wait And See’ (US no. 23) b/w ‘I Still Love You’ (US no. 79); and December’s ‘The Big Beat’ (US no. 26, UK no. 20) b/w ‘I Want You To Know’ (US no. 32).  ‘Valley Of Tears’ is probably the best of these songs.  “Everyone understands me / In the valley of tears,” sings Fats Domino in a song that proves misery loves company.  The song has a gospel feel with cooing female backing vocals.  Honourable mentions go to the break-up song ‘What Will I Tell My Heart?’ [a song identified with jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald], the confident ‘Wait And See’, the breezy ‘I Still Love You’ and the light-hearted rock ‘n’ roll tribute ‘The Big Beat’.

The 1958 Fats Domino singles are: February’s ‘Yes My Darling’ (US no. 55); April’s ‘Sick And Tired’ (US no. 22, UK no. 26) b/w ‘No No’ (US no. 55); ‘July’s ‘Little Mary’ (US no. 48); August’s ‘Young School Girl’ (US no. 92); and October’s ‘Whole Lotta Loving’ (US no. 6) b/w ‘Coquette’ (US no. 92).  The best of these is the robust ‘Whole Lotta Loving’.  In the same year, Fats Domino releases three albums – two of them in August.  The August releases are ‘This Is Fats’ (1958) [includes ‘Valley Of Tears’ and ‘The Rooster Song’ – which equates men with barnyard fowls] and ‘The Fabulous Mr. D’ (1958) [includes ‘Big Beat’, ‘What Will I Tell My Heart?’ and ‘Young School Girl’].  December’s ‘Fats Domino Swings’ (1958) is a compendium of old hits.

Moving into 1959, Fats Domino maintains a steady pace.  Hit singles for 1959 are: January’s ‘Telling Lies’ (US no. 50) b/w ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ (US no. 50); April’s ‘I’m Ready’ (US no. 16) b/w ‘Margie’ (US no. 51); July’s ‘I Want To Walk You Home’ (US no. 8, UK no. 14) b/w ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday’ (US no. 17); and October’s ‘Be My Guest’ (US no. 8, UK no. 11) b/w ‘I’ve Been Around’ (US no. 33).  ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ is a traditional American gospel hymn whose authors are lost to history.  It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1938.  Most of Fats Domino’s 1959 hits are on ‘Let’s Play Fats Domino’ (1959), released in September.

The first wave of rock stars begin to fade away as the 1950s draw to a close, Fats Domino remains relatively consistent compared to most of his peers, but commercially and aesthetically his work begins to fare more poorly.

The 1960 Fats Domino singles are: January’s ‘Country Boy’ (US no. 25, UK no. 19) b/w ‘If You Need Me’ (US no. 98); April’s ‘Tell Me That You Love Me’ (US no. 51) b/w ‘Before I Grow Too Old’ (US no. 84, UK no. 17); June’s ‘Walking To New Orleans’ (US no. 6, UK no. 19) b/w ‘Don’t Come Knockin’’ (US no. 21); August’s ‘Three Nights A Week’ (US no. 15, UK no. 45) b/w ‘Put Your Arms Around Me Honey’ (US no. 58); and October’s ‘My Girl Josephine’ (US no. 14, UK no. 32) b/w ‘Natural Born Lover’ (US no. 38).  The biggest hit, ‘Walking To New Orleans’, has a trudging rhythm and a string section in the background.  ‘My Girl Josephine’ is a jovial paean to a young girl who is growing up to be a beauty.  The January album, ‘Fats Domino Sings Million Record Hits’ (1960) includes such 1959 hits as ‘Margie’ and ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday’.  October’s ‘A Lot Of Dominos’ (1960) holds ‘Walking To New Orleans’ and ‘My Girl Josephine’.

The year of 1961 brings these Fats Domino singles: January’s ‘Ain’t That Just Like A Woman’ (US no. 33) b/w ‘What A Price’ (US no. 22); March’s ‘Shu Rah’ (US no. 32) b/w ‘I Fell In Love On Monday’ (US no. 32); May’s ‘It Keeps Rainin’’ (US no. 23, UK no. 49); July’s ‘Let The Four Winds Blow’ (US no. 15); September’s ‘What A Party’ (US no. 22, UK no. 43) b/w ‘Rockin’ Bicycle’ (US no. 83); and November’s ‘I Hear You Knocking’ (US no. 67) b/w ‘Jambalaya’ (US no. 30, UK no. 41).  The best of these singles is probably ‘Let The Four Winds Blow’, a tight and choppy declaration of love.  ‘Jambalaya’ is a revved-up version of the 1952 song by country music legend Hank Williams.  There are three Fats Domino albums released in 1961: January’s ‘I Miss You So’ (1961), June’s ‘Let The Four Winds Blow’ (1961) and October’s ‘What A Party’ (1961)‘Let The Four Winds Blow’ is one of the better regarded Fats Domino albums.

Change looms in 1962.  Fats Domino’s recording career continues with the following singles: February’s ‘You Win Again’ (US no. 22) b/w ‘Ida Jane’ (US no. 90); May’s ‘My Real Name’ (US no. 59); July’s ‘Dance With Mr Domino’ (US no. 98) b/w ‘Nothing New (Same Old Thing)’ (US no. 77); and September’s ‘Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?’ (US no. 79) b/w ‘Stop The Clock’ (US no. 103).  The contemporaneous albums are: February’s ‘Twistin’ The Stomp’ (1962), May’s ‘Million Sellers By Fats’ (1962) [a collection of latter day hits] and September’s ‘Just Domino’ (1962).

At the end of 1962, ‘declining sales’ lead to Fats Domino parting ways with Imperial Records.  “I stuck with them until they sold out,” says Fats.  Significantly, this parting also ends Fats Domino’s association with producer / co-writer Dave Bartholomew.

Although Fats Domino may have exited Imperial Records, the company is not above using whatever Fats Domino material they have left over.  So, in 1963, Imperial puts out the Fats Domino singles ‘Hum Diddy Doo’ (US no. 124), ‘You Always Hurt The One You Love’ (US no. 102) and ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’ (US no. 114), with a final single, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart’ (US no. 112), tipping into 1964.  Imperial’s final Fats Domino albums are ‘Let’s Dance With Domino’ (1963), ‘Here He Comes Again’ (1963) and ‘Walking To New Orleans’ (1963).

Fats Domino moves to ABC Records where he works with producer Felton Jarvis and arranger Bill Justis.  He remains there for two years, 1963 and 1964.  The 1963 singles are:  ‘There Goes (My Heart Again)’ (US no. 59) b/w ‘Can’t Go On Without You’ (US no. 123), ‘When I’m Walking (Let Me Walk)’ (US no. 114) b/w ‘I’ve Got A Right To Cry’ (US no. 128), ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’ (US no. 35, UK no. 34) and ‘Who Cares’ (US no. 63) b/w ‘Just A Lonely Man’ (US no. 108).  ‘Red Sails In The Sunset’ is a standard published in 1935.  It was first recorded by Al Bowlly with Ray Noble And His Orchestra in 1935, but Nat King Cole’s 1951 version is perhaps better known.  The 1964 singles are: ‘Lazy Lady’ (US no. 86) b/w ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ (US no. 122), ‘Mary Oh Mary’ (US no. 127), ‘Sally Was A Good Girl’ (US no. 99) and ‘Heartbreak Hill’ (US no. 99).  The ABC albums are: ‘Here Comes Fats Domino’ (1963) and ‘Fats On Fire’ (1964).

Fats Domino’s ‘career as an important artist is essentially over in the mid-1960s.’

In 1965 Fats Domino moves to Mercury Records but only releases a couple of singles and a live album recorded in Las Vegas, ‘Fats Domino ‘65’ (1965).

There is a brief reunion with Dave Bartholomew on the latter’s new Broadmoor label around 1967.  This small label cuts only two singles.

Reprise Records issues the optimistically titled ‘Fats Is Back’ (1968), produced by Richard Perry.  A cover version of ‘Lady Madonna’ (US no. 100), a song by British superstars The Beatles, becomes Fats Domino’s last notable single when it is released in 1968 – the same year in which the original is issued.

In the late 1960s-early 1970s nostalgic interest in 1950s rock ‘n’ roll gives Fats Domino some renewed popularity in revival shows.  Warner Bros. releases ‘Fats’ (1970).

Fats Domino performs in Las Vegas and takes on occasional cabaret dates and overseas tours.  Polydor/Sonet releases Domino’s album ‘Sleeping On The Job’ (1978).

Subsequently, Fats Domino slips into semi-retirement in his New Orleans home.

When Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans in August 2005, ghoulish rumours suggest Fats Domino has perished in the natural disaster.  Thankfully, those stories prove false.  “I was sleeping [when Katrina hit],” says Fats.  After being missing for several days, he is rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter on 1 September 2005.  Domino’s home is severely affected.  “We’ve lost everything,” he admits.  The disaster leads to Fats Domino recording a new album, ‘Alive And Kickin’’ (2006), through the Tipitina’s Foundation.

Fats Domino passes away on 24 October 2017.  He was 89 years old.  The coroner’s office records the death as due to ‘natural causes.’

Fats Domino may not have looked like a rock star, but he became ‘the most popular exponent of the classic New Orleans rhythm and blues sound…[a] relaxed, lolling boogie-woogie style.’  Fats Domino’s best work was recorded in the mid to late 1950s but five years’ worth of notable material can be added to either side of that reckoning.  As ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ became ‘rock’, part of its early sound was lost.  Fats Domino’s music put the ‘roll’ into rock ‘n’ roll.  Whether it was as playful as a rolling mountain stream or as forceful as a rolling freight train, that rounded movement underpinned all his work.  Fats Domino’s ‘pounding up-tempo piano style made him a natural rock ‘n’ roller.’  ‘He was simply the most consistent, predictable hit-maker of…all [the early rockers] over a period of nearly twenty years.’


  1. azlyrics.com as at 4 May 2015
  2. wikipedia.org as at 1 May 2015, 26 October 2017
  3. yahoo.answers.com (2007)
  4. Notable names database – nndb.com – as at 4 April 2013
  5. ‘The Illustrated Rock Handbook’ edited by Roxanne Streeter, Ray Bonds (Salamander Books, 1983) p. 21, 64
  6. ‘The Rolling Stone Illustrated History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll’, ‘Rock Begins’ by Robert Palmer, ‘The Sound of New Orleans’ by Langdon Winner, ‘Fats Domino’ by Peter Guralnick (Plexus Publishing, 1992), p. 9, 37, 38, 49, 50
  7. ‘Backtalk: Fats Domino (interview)’ – conducted by Michael Hurt (1 June 2004) (reproduced on offbeat.com)
  8. Internet movie database – imdb.com – as at 3 May 2015
  9. famousfix.com as at 3 May 2015
  10. youtube.com as at 3 May 2015
  11. allmusic.com, ‘Fats Domino’ by Richie Unterberger as at 2 May 2015
  12. youtube.com – Fats Domino’s preamble to video of ‘The Fat Man’
  13. dummies.com – piano triplets – anonymous – as at 4 May 2015
  14. ‘Rolling Stone Rock Almanac’ by the Editors of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine (Papermac, 1984) p. 28
  15. lpdiscography.com as at 3 May 2015
  16. ‘Fats Domino – Rock ‘N’ Roll Legends Collection’ – Anonymous sleeve notes (One & Only Records, 2013) p. 3
  17. ‘The History of Rock’ by Mark Paytress (Parragon Books, 2011) p. 14
  18. fatsonline.nl as at 9 May 2015
  19. ‘The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock’ by Nick Logan, Bob Woffinden (Salamander Books, 1978) p. 67, 68
  20. ‘CBS Evening News’ (U.S. television program, CBS Network) – report by Byron Pitts (25 February 2006)
  21. ‘Washington Post’ (U.S. newspaper) via (2) above
  22. lyricsfreak.com as at 4 May 2015
  23. metrolyrics.com as at 9 May 2015

Song lyrics copyright unknown with the exceptions of ‘The Fat Man’ (Hi-Lo Music, EMI Unart Catalog Inc.), ‘Ain’t That A Shame’ (Songs of Fairchild O.B.O., Molique Music, EMI Unart Catalog Inc.), ‘Bo Weevil’ (Sony/ATV Publishing LLC), ‘Blueberry Hill’ (Chappell & Co., Inc., Redwood Music Ltd., Larry Spier Music LLC O.B.O. Larry Stock Music), ‘I’m Walkin’’ (EMI Unart Catalog Inc.), ‘Valley Of Tears’ (EMI Music Publishing)

Last revised 26 October 2017


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