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American singer and pianist Fats Domino was a rhythm-and-blues star who became one of the first rock-and-roll stars and who helped define the New Orleans sound.
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Fats Domino was born February 26, 1928, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began performing in clubs in his teens and in 1949 was discovered by Dave Bartholomew, who became Domino's exclusive arranger. His first recording, “The Fat Man” (1950), was one of a series of rhythm-and-blues hits that sold 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies. Fats Domino was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Singer; Musician. Born in New Orleans on February 26, 1928, Antoine "Fats" Domino was one of nine siblings in a musical family. He spoke Creole before he spoke English. When he was seven, his brother-in-law Harrison Verret taught him to play the piano and introduced him to the New Orleans music scene; by age 10, Domino was already performing as a singer and pianist. At 14, he dropped out of high school and started working odd jobs, including working in a factory and hauling ice, while playing music for pennies in the evenings to get exposure. In 1946, Domino started playing piano for the well-known New Orleans bass player and band leader Billy Diamond, who gave Domino the nickname "Fats." Domino's rare musical talents quickly made him a sensation, and by 1949 he was drawing substantial crowds on his own.
In 1949, Fats Domino met collaborator Dave Bartholomew and signed to Imperial Records, where he would stay until 1963. Domino's first record was The Fat Man, based on his nickname, a song co-written with Bartholomew. It became the first rock and roll record ever to sell over a million copies, peaking at No. 2 on the R&B charts. Domino and Bartholomew continued to churn out R&B hits and Top 100 records for years. Domino's distinctive style of piano playing, accompanied by simple saxophone riffs, drum afterbeats, and his mellow baritone voice, made him stand out in the sea of 1950s R&B singers.
Fats Domino found mainstream success in 1955 with his song "Ain't It A Shame," which was covered by Pat Boone, who recorded it as "Ain't That A Shame"; Boone's version hit No. 1 on the pop charts, while Domino's original reached No. 10. The hit record increased Domino's visibility and record sales. (It also happened to be the very first song John Lennon ever learned to play on guitar.) In 1956, Domino had five Top 40 hits, including his cover of Glenn Miller's "Blueberry Hill," which hit No. 2 on the pop charts, Domino's top charting record ever. He cemented this popularity with appearances in two 1956 films, Shake, Rattle & Rock and The Girl Can't Help It; his hit "The Big Beat" was featured on Dick Clark's television show American Bandstand in 1957.
Domino described his songwriting process as taking inspiration from everyday events: "Something that happened to someone, that's how I write all my songs. I used to listen to people talk every day, things would happen in real life. I used to go around different places, hear people talk. Sometimes I wasn't expecting to hear nothin', and my mind was very much on my music. Next thing I'd hear, I would either write it down or remember it good." Domino believed the success of his music came from the rhythm: "You got to keep a good beat.
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