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Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino

Also Known As: "Fats Domino"
Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Antoine Caliste Domino and Marie-Donatille Domino
Husband of <private> Domino (Hall)
Brother of Joseph Domino; Philomene Domino; Lawrence "Bum" Domino; Morris "King" Domino; John "Ové" Domino and 2 others

Occupation: American rhythm and blues and rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Fats Domino

A pioneer of rock and roll, Domino is noted for his energetic piano playing and his smoky voice with its New Orleans accent.

  • Born: February 26, 1928; New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Also known as: Antoine Domino, Jr. (full name)
  • Principal recordings albums:
  1. Carry on Rockin’, 1955
  2. Fats Domino Rock and Rollin’, 1956
  3. Rock and Rollin’ with Fats Domino, 1956
  4. This Is Fats Domino, 1957
  5. Here Stands Fats Domino, 1958
  6. The Fabulous Mr. D., 1958
  7. This Is Fats, 1958
  8. Let’s Play Fats Domino, 1959
  9. A Lot of Dominos, 1960
  10. Fats Domino, 1960;
  11. I Miss You So, 1961
  12. Let the Four Winds Blow, 1961
  13. Twistin’ the Stomp, 1962
  14. What a Party, 1962
  15. Here Comes Fats, 1963
  16. Here He Comes Again, 1963
  17. Just Domino, 1963
  18. Let’s Dance with Domino, 1963
  19. Fantastic Fats, 1964
  20. Fats Domino ’65, 1965
  21. Trouble in Mind, 1965
  22. Getaway with Fats Domino, 1966
  23. Southland U. S. A., 1966
  24. Fats Domino Swings, 1967
  25. Stompin’, 1967
  26. Fats Is Back, 1968
  27. Ain’t That a Shame, 1970
  28. Fats, 1970
  29. Cookin’ with Fats, 1971
  30. Big Rock Sounds, 1974
  31. Fats Domino 1980, 1980
  32. Jambalaya, 1984
  33. Easy Riding, 1988
  34. Christmas Gumbo, 1993
  35. Happy Days of Rock ’n’ Roll, 1995
  36. The Fats Man, 1995.
  • Singles:
  1. “The Fat Man,” 1949
  2. “Every Night About This Time,” 1950
  3. “Rockin’ Chair,” 1951
  4. “Goin’ Home,” 1952
  5. “Going to the River,” 1953
  6. “Please Don’t Leave Me,” 1953
  7. “Something’s Wrong,” 1953
  8. “You Done Me Wrong,” 1954
  9. “Ain’t That a Shame,” 1955
  10. “Don’t You Know,” 1955.

The Life

Antoine Domino, Jr., was born in New Orleans on February 26, 1928, the last of eight children of Antoine and Donatile Gros Domino. His father was an amateur violinist, and his uncle played with several New Orleans jazz bands. Domino’s brother-inlaw, Harrison Verrett, who performed in New Orleans clubs, taught the five-year-old Domino to play piano. By the time he was ten, Domino played blues and ragtime at roadhouses and honky-tonks. Domino could not be deterred from a musical career, even after severely injuring his fingers while working in a bed-spring factory. 

Domino married Rosemary Hall on August 6, 1947, and they had eight children.

While performing at the Hideaway Club, Domino was signed for Imperial Records by Dave Bartholomew, a bandleader and producer. Domino’s first hit was “The Fat Man,” a title referring to the 250-pound singer’s nickname, Fats. It reached number twenty-six on the rhythm-and-blues charts, and later it earned Domino the first of his twenty-three gold records, a total surpassed at the time by only Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley. Domino formed his own band in 1951, and a string of rhythm-and-blues hits, written alone or in collaboration with Bartholomew, followed: “Rockin’ Chair,” “Goin’ Home,” “Going to the River,” “Please Don’t Leave Me,” “You Done Me Wrong,” and “Don’t You Know.”

Billboard chose Domino as favorite rhythm-andblues artist in 1955 and 1956. He has been widely acknowledged as one of the first rhythm-and-blues performers to become popular with both black and white audiences. The success of such songs as “Ain’t That a Shame” in 1955 led to his being considered a pioneer of rock and roll, along with Bill Haley and the Comets, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Presley. Domino was more visible than most black rockers, singing in such films as Shake, Rattle, and Rock! (1956), The Girl Can’t Help It (1956), Jamboree (1957), and The Big Beat (1958), which takes its title from a Domino song.

When Domino’s sales declined during the 1960’s, his contract with Imperial Records was not renewed. He began drifting from label to label, with his music seeming old-fashioned in the era of the Beatles, Otis Redding, and Jimi Hendrix. With help from Bartholomew, Domino unsuccessfully tried to launch his own label, Broadmoor.

In 2005 Domino made international news because of Hurricane Katrina. While others fled New Orleans, Domino stayed at the insistence of his wife Rosemary, a semi-invalid. Domino survived Katrina, but he lost most of his memorabilia and the home in the working-class neighborhood where he had lived all his life. He eventually moved to a gated community across the Mississippi River in Harvey, Louisiana.

The Music Domino’s voice is soothing and friendly, in contrast to the louder, more aggressive voices of many of his contemporaries. “The Fat Man.” Like much of Domino’s early music, “The Fat Man” is a blend of blues, ragtime, and boogie-woogie. Domino learned eight-bar riffs as a youngmanby listening to Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Professor Longhair, and Huey Smith perform in clubs, and his music rarely strayed from this New Orleans style. His heavy beat on the piano works in counterpoint to his high, nasal, slightly raspy voice. His emphasis on the beat helped make his music popular during an era when rock and roll was essentially dance music. His relaxed yet energetic piano style caused everyone listening to keep the beat. “Ain’t That a Shame.”

In 1955 Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” became his first crossover hit, earning the tenth spot on the pop charts. A subsequent version by Pat Boone, as “Ain’t That a Shame,” reached number one. To make certain songs more palatable to young white record buyers in the 1950’s, it was common for white singers such as Boone, Presley, and Ricky Nelson, whose first single was Domino’s “I’m Walkin’,” to have hit versions of songs originally recorded by black singers. More Hits. Domino hadmore Top 40 hits during the 1950’s than all other rock performers except Presley. In addition to “Ain’t It a Shame,” his other Top 10 pop hits were “I’m in Love Again,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m Walkin’,” “Valley of Tears,” “Whole Lotta Lovin’,” “I Want to Walk You Home,” “BeMyGuest,” and “Walking to New Orleans,” the last in 1960.

While many of his raw, suggestive lyrics, Domino’s style was always mellower and more nonchalant. His simple, repetitive, easy-to-remember lyrics were inspired by his everyday experiences and chance remarks he overheard. “Blueberry Hill.” In 1956 Domino took the 1940 pop standard “Blueberry Hill” (previously recorded by Sammy Kaye, Gene Autry, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, and many others), added his gliding, syncopated rhythms, and remade it into a rock classic. It remains the song with which he is most identified. He also adapted other Tin Pan Alley songs, such as “My Blue Heaven,” “When My Dreamboat Comes Home,” and “Red Sails in the Sunset,” his final Top 40 hit in 1963, to rock rhythms, his driving piano accompanied by wailing saxophones, making the songs his own. “Lady Madonna.”

Domino’s last single to reach the pop charts was his 1968 rendition of the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.” Ironically, Paul McCartney wrote the song as a tribute to Domino’s smoothly flowing sound. In Christmas Gumbo, he brought his bouncy rhythms to “Silent Night,” making the familiar holiday favorite sound brand new. Musical Legacy The debt the musical industry felt it owed Domino became clear after the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Dr. John, Ben Harper, Norah Jones, B. B. King, Lenny Kravitz, Los Lobos, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, and others perform his songs on Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino to raise money for the Tipitina’s Foundation, a nonprofit musicians-aid organization in New Orleans. The rendition of “My Girl Josephine” by Taj Mahal and the New Orleans Social Club demonstrates how Domino and the New Orleans sound are inseparable.

Domino was one of the first ten inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy Awards show the following year. In 1995 he received a Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and in 1998 the National Medal of Arts. By 2007 he had sold 110 million records, second only to Presley among rockers.

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Fats Domino's Timeline

1928
February 26, 1928
New Orleans, Orleans, Louisiana, United States
1947
August 6, 1947
Age 19