Fats Domino, Legendary Singer And Pianist, Dead At 89

The rock ‘n’ roll pioneer was known for hits like “Ain’t That a Shame” and “I’m Walkin’.”

My first impres­sion was a last­ing impres­sion,” Bartholomew said of Domino in a 2010 inter­view with The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He was a great singer. He was a great artist. And what­ev­er he was doing, nobody could beat him.”

ULLSTEIN BILD VIA GETTY IMAGES
Fats Domino in 1973.

Domino’s musi­cal style was inspired by the likes of pianist Meade Lux Lewis and singer Louis Jordan. However, he had cre­at­ed a sound all his own that no doubt con­tributed to his mas­sive suc­cess.

As rock ‘n’ roll music gained pop­u­lar­i­ty in the mid-’50s, Domino already had a num­ber of R&B hits under his belt. His first album, “Carry On Rockin’” was offi­cial­ly released in November 1955 and reis­sued as “Rock and Rollin’ with Fats Domino” in 1956. That same year, Domino released a record­ing of “Blueberry Hill,” (a 1940 song writ­ten by Vincent Rose, Al Lewis and Larry Stock), which would go on to become his biggest hit. The sin­gle held the No. 1 spot on the R&B chart for 11 weeks and reached No. 2 on the Top 40 chart.

Over the years, his music was cov­ered by count­less artists, includ­ing John LennonNorah Jones and Cheap Trick.

Throughout the 1960s, Domino released music reg­u­lar­ly, and accord­ing to Rolling Stone, he played six to eight months of the year through the mid-’70s.

He also received The National Medal of Arts at The White House in 1998 from President Bill Clinton.

As a native of New Orleans, Domino was one of the thou­sands affect­ed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The per­former stayed in his home in the Lower Ninth Ward and was res­cued by a Coast Guard heli­copter.

Following the nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, Domino released a ben­e­fit album in 2006, “Alive and Kickin’,” to raise mon­ey for the Tipitina’s Foundation. In 2009, a ben­e­fit con­cert meant to raise funds for rebuild­ing schools dam­aged by Katrina was orga­nized in his name.

Domino was mar­ried to Rosemary Hall from 1948 until her death in 2008. Together, they had eight chil­dren.