Fats Domino, pioneer of rock 'n' roll, dies at 89 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Fats Domino, pioneer of rock 'n' roll, dies at 89

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
Fats Domino is named Honorary Grand Marshall of the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded Carnival club that traditionally parades the night before Mardi Gras. Photo was taken Dec. 20, 2013. (Source: AP) Fats Domino is named Honorary Grand Marshall of the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded Carnival club that traditionally parades the night before Mardi Gras. Photo was taken Dec. 20, 2013. (Source: AP)

(RNN) - Pianist and singer Fats Domino played a brand of New Orleans rhythm and blues that transformed into rock 'n' roll and appealed to black and white audiences.

The performer has died at the age of 89, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. Chief Investigator Mark Bone, with the Jefferson Parish, LA, Coroner's Office, said Domino died Tuesday.

In the 1950s, his concerts resulted in the integration of many venues as black and white fans gathered, and the mixing of the races at the shows sometimes ended in riots. 

“He had four major riots at his shows partly because of integration, but also the fact they had alcohol at these shows," PBS.org quoted Domino biographer Rick Coleman as saying. "So they were mixing alcohol, plus dancing, plus the races together for the first time in a lot of these places.”

Domino, an African American, became the face of popular music at the height of segregation "in part because he came across as pleasant and tame," NOLA.com said. 

His first hit, The Fat Man (1949), is sometimes cited by music historians as one of the first rock 'n' roll records because of its "brash young street corner attitude, an exuberant vocal veering into nonsense syllables and a supremely throbbing backbeat." 

In early 1950, the song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's R&B chart, pushed there partly by Domino's rolling piano and "wah-wah" vocalizing mimicking a horn, and sold more than a million copies.   

Asked whether his song was the first rock and roll song, A Prairie Home Companion said, "Fats reportedly answered: 'I wouldn't want to say that I started it, but I don't remember anyone else before me playing that kind of stuff." 

Also among his 35 Top 40 hits are Ain't That a Shame (1955), Blueberry Hill (1956) and I'm Walkin' (1957). 

In 1957, he had 11 hits on Billboard's pop chart. Only one 1950s-era rocker sold more records than Domino's 65 million, Elvis Presley, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Domino's number of hit records exceeded the combined total of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. 

Domino's songs made Billboard's pop chart 63 times and the R&B chart 59 times. He sold more than 110 million records in his career.

As rock evolved away from his hits "about breakup, courtships, and homesickness," according to WSJ.com, and became "a politically charged, drug-fueled genre, Mr. Domino's brand of storytelling declined in relevance." 

Some top artists of the 1960s and 1970s acknowledged the boogie-woogie piano playing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as an important influence on their music. Beatles co-founder John Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded Domino songs. 

He appeared in several films, including Shake, Rattle, and Roll (1956) , where he sang three of his hits, The Girl Can't Help It (1956), Jamboree! (1957) and The Big Beat (1958).

Domino was born Antoine Domino Jr. on Feb. 26, 1928, in New Orleans, LA, into a large, musical family whose first language was French. At seven years old, he learned the rudiments of piano from a brother-in-law, and by 10 years old he was playing piano for pennies in nightclubs.  

After quitting school at age 14, he worked in a bedspring factory during the day and performed in bars at night. In 1949, he and local band leader Dave Bartholomew, also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, became musical partners, a relationship that lasted until 1960 and resulted in most of Domino's 68 Billboard Top 100 hits. 

In August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Domino was rescued from his flooded house in the Ninth Ward, where he lived with his wife, Rosemary, who died in 2008. They had eight children. 

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. 

  • Entertainment NewsEntertainment NewsMore>>

  • Verne Troyer, Mini-Me from 'Austin Powers' films, has died

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me from 'Austin Powers' films, has died

    Saturday, April 21 2018 5:54 PM EDT2018-04-21 21:54:40 GMT
    Sunday, April 22 2018 8:37 AM EDT2018-04-22 12:37:18 GMT
    Actor Verne Troyer from the "Austin Powers" films has died at age 49.
    Actor Verne Troyer from the "Austin Powers" films has died at age 49.
  • Natalie Portman addresses snub of 'Jewish Nobel,' backlash

    Natalie Portman addresses snub of 'Jewish Nobel,' backlash

    Friday, April 20 2018 2:53 AM EDT2018-04-20 06:53:13 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:45 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:45:15 GMT
    The Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of a June ceremony in Israel. (Source: (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)The Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of a June ceremony in Israel. (Source: (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
    The Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of June ceremony in Israel. (Source: (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)The Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of June ceremony in Israel. (Source: (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

    Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of June ceremony in Israel.

    Genesis Prize foundation says this year's winner, Natalie Portman, has pulled out of June ceremony in Israel.

  • Investigation says Prince was isolated, addicted and in pain

    Investigation says Prince was isolated, addicted and in pain

    Friday, April 20 2018 2:13 AM EDT2018-04-20 06:13:24 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 6:44 PM EDT2018-04-21 22:44:31 GMT
    (Carver County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this image made from surveillance video provided Thursday, April 19, 2018, by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, as part of an investigative file into Prince's death, the superstar, center, enters a clinic o...(Carver County Sheriff's Office via AP). In this image made from surveillance video provided Thursday, April 19, 2018, by the Carver County Sheriff's Office, as part of an investigative file into Prince's death, the superstar, center, enters a clinic o...
    Investigative files in Prince's death show that members of his inner circle were growing increasingly alarmed about an opioid addition as his health waned in the final days of his life, and that they sought help.
    Investigative files in Prince's death show that members of his inner circle were growing increasingly alarmed about an opioid addition as his health waned in the final days of his life, and that they sought help.
Powered by Frankly