Fats Domino: Ain’t That a Shame

Commercially, he outsold all of his contemporaries except Elvis.

“Before Elvis, Jerry Lee and Chuck Berry, there was Fats.” That’s what Greg Harris, Rock Hall President and CEO, said of Fats Domino, born Antoine Domino Jr. “His sweet voice, rolling boogie-woogie piano, and delightful charisma made him a top-selling artist, a worldwide rock star and an inaugural member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”

I think the Pitchfork headline is true: “A Rock’n’Roll Pioneer Too Often Overlooked.” He didn’t run hot, like Little Richard or the artists Harris mentioned. Fats was cool, in control.

Fats Domino may not have been the most flamboyant rock and roller of the Fifties, but he was certainly the figure most rooted in the worlds of blues, rhythm & blues and the various strains of jazz that gave rise to rock and roll.”

Commercially, he outsold all of his contemporaries except Elvis. The Guardian noted that he “shaped the course of popular music over and over again.” In fact, “You could argue for the rest of your life about what constitutes the first rock’n’roll record… But Fats Domino’s 1949 single The Fat Man has a stronger claim than most.

The first time I ever heard Lady Madonna, I was not 100% sure it was by the Beatles. Indeed, Paul McCartney made it clear that he was trying to do Fats Domino. And Fats covered the song, which I have on some compilation album of black artists performing tracks by the Beatles. “Ain’t That a Shame was the first song John Lennon learned to play.”

Some declared Fats Domino dead during Katrina. He lived to laugh about it. “His grand piano was destroyed. Many of his two dozen gold records were carried away by floodwaters, NOLA.com reported. But he was okay.”

Listen to Fats Domino (piano, vocals; born February 26, 1928, died October 25, 2017):

Blueberry Hill on Austin City Limits

Ain’t That a Shame

I’m Walkin’

Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

I’m Walkin’, Yes Indeed

I will regularly be posting something called I’m Walking; it means, no time for blogging.

In some very specific ways, it has been a difficult year for me. One of my great joys was playing racquetball at the local YMCA. I did that from December 1982 until it closed at the end of April 2010. My racquetball buddies shifted to Siena College’s courts, and I tried that for a couple of weeks, but it proved to be untenable, schedule-wise. In any case, now that I’m taking the Daughter to school every weekday, it wouldn’t have worked out, even if I were still had the Y as an option.

Well, at least I have my bicycle. Well, I DID, until it was stolen from me about a month ago. I was less than six feet away when it happened, and I was so ENRAGED – I hate it when I’m enraged, not AT ALL a good place for me to be – that I’ve barely mentioned it. (It’s a maroon Trek hybrid that has been subsequently seen twice by friends, once at Lexington and Clinton, once behind the main library; it’s a very distinctive bike.)

So, in order to get ANY exercise, at least until we get the stationary bike fixed, I’ve taken to getting up and walking in the morning. Or walking to and/or from church. But walking takes more time than biking, and time is not fungible. The only time I have available is that hour between 5 and 6 a.m. when I usually blog.

Therefore, I will regularly be posting something called I’m Walking; it means, no time for blogging. But I won’t leave you folks TOTALLY bereft and will post a music video or two, at least initially about walking.

I’m Walkin – Fats Domino, a #4 hit in 1957, exactly where it charted the same year for Ricky Nelson.
Walking to New Orleans – Fats Domino, a #6 hit in 1960. Domino needed to be rescued in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005.


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