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Fats Domino: The oldies.about.com Profile


Fats in the Fifties

Fats in the Fifties


Antoine Domino


February 26th, 1928 (New Orleans, LA)


Jump Blues, Boogie Woogie, R&B, Rock and Roll, New Orleans, Pop


Vocals, Piano

#1 Hits :

"Ain't That A Shame," "Poor Me," "Blue Monday," "I'm Walkin'," "I Want To Walk You Home" (R&B charts)

Top 10 Hits (Pop):

"Ain't That A Shame," "Blue Monday," "I'm Walkin'," "It's You I Love," "Valley of Tears," "Be My Guest," "I Want To Walk You Home," "Whole Lotta Loving," "Walking To New Orleans"

Top 10 Hits (R&B):

"Don't You Know," "I Can't Go On," "Bo Weevil," "Don't Blame It On Me," "Honey Chile," "My Blue Heaven," "So Long," "When My Dreamboat Comes Home," "It's You I Love," "Valley Of Tears," "Wait And See," "Little Mary," "Whole Lotta Loving," "Yes, My Darling," "I'm Ready," "Be My Guest," "Three Nights A Week," "Walking To New Orleans," "What A Price"


"Underappreciated" is the word that comes most often to mind when thinking of New Orleans' favorite son, Fats Domino. A constant presence on the charts for fifteen years at a time when artists' lifespans averaged a quarter of that (only James Brown had more top 40 hits), he nevertheless doesn't get the proper respect awarded to most of his peers. In a way, this was because his marriage of styles - he was at least as facile as Chuck Berry and Elvis in mixing country and western and R&B - resulted in genial, non-threatening good time party singles. Fats Domino was no danger to the status quo like a Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard; he wasn't as lascivious as Chuck Berry; he didn't have the looks for Elvis-like teen-idol status; and he wasn't a studio wizard like Buddy Holly. He just sat there and played. Smiling all the time.

Yet there's obviously more to the story, not because Fats had a disturbing private life (he doesn't) but because his stacks of hit single wax continue to pop up all over the national consciousness, ubiquitous in a way wildly disproportionate to his celebrity status. Part of this has to do with the ease with which he crossed genres, but it also speaks well of the insanely catchy and well-disciplined art of his songwriting (his originals were mainly composed with his bandleader, the equally locally beloved Dave Bartholomew). In addition, Fats may be the least-appreciated interpretive singer in rock and roll; large portions of his hits were resurrected swing and big-band standards, rendered completely unrecognizable by Antoine's lazy Creole drawl. In the end, Fats Domino may be the Teddy Roosevelt of rock and roll's Mount Rushmore: somewhat in the background, but still vitally important to the structure.

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