Fats Domino

Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. was not flashy and wild like some of his 1950s peers such as Elvis, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The first I heard of Fats Domino was on “Happy Days” and the song Blueberry Hill. I was at a relative’s yard sale when I was a kid and was given his greatest hits.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother in law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

Fat’s first hit in the Billboard 100 was the great “Aint That A Shame” in 1955 written by  Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew that peaked at #16 and his last charting song was a cover of the Beatles “Lady Madonna”(great version) that peaked at #100 in 1968. He had 45 songs in the top 100 and 4 top 10 hits…many more top 10 hits in the R&B Charts.

My favorite song by him is “I’m Walking” because it’s so simple but yet effective. The odd beat sounds modern and it hooks you. He was inspired to write the song when his car broke down and someone said “Hey Fats Domino is Walking” and he thought to himself…Yea I’m walking.

Ricky Nelson covered the song and it went to number 4 on the charts.

What is sad to me is Pat Boone covered Aint That a Shame and it went to number 1 while Fat’s version only made it to 16 in the same year. That was the era where some parents would buy their kids the Pat Boone version of the song and the kids would hide their self-bought Fats Domino version… Same went with Little Richard also.

Domino received The Lifetime Achievement Grammy, a National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton and the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Fats semi-retired in the 80s and said he would not travel outside of New Orleans.

During Hurricane Katrina, he lost most of his possessions and him and his family were rescued by the coast guard. He unselfishly made many personal appearances to raise money for the hurricane relief. His house was hit hard and he lost his National Medal and gold records but George Bush gave him another medal to replace the lost one and the RIAA gave him replacement gold records.

To raise money for repairs for his own home, friends and fellow musicians recorded a tribute album, Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino, featuring the likes of Robert Plant, Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney. He as living in New Orleans at the time of his death on October 24, 2017.

He was a huge influence on The Beatles, Elton John, Robert Plant, Randy Newman, and Elvis even called Fats “The King.”

Here is an article stating that Fats Domino helped start “ska” music. 

I’m Walking
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna run away and hide
I’m gonna run right by your side, for you pretty baby I’ll even die
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, and I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me (yes)
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’ for your company
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me
What ‘ya gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna sit right down and cry
What ‘ya gonna do when I say bye-bye?
All you’re gonna do is dry your eye
I’m walkin’, yes indeed, I’m talkin’ ’bout you and me
I’m hopin’ that you’ll come back to me

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

23 thoughts on “Fats Domino”

  1. He has never gotten his full due I don’t think. It seems like the last 3-4 decades of his life he kept a pretty low profile. He was present in Las Vegas when Elvis was giving his first concert at the Hilton- a journalist referred to Elvis as The King- and Elvis gestured towards Fats and said “No, that’s the real King of Rock and Roll.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes for some reason he would not travel out of New Orleans for a long time. I don’t know if it was due to health or not. He is associated with the fifties but doesn’t pop in peoples minds as quick as the others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes- when people mention the 50’s rockers often he isn’t mentioned. I don’t know why- because he was popular before the others? I have a box set of his career- good stuff. … listening to The Beatles Channel this morning- one of your recent subjects- Greg Kihn was on the little segment where the guest talks about and plays 4 of his favorite Beatles tracks- Kihn selected Strawberry Fields Forever/ A Hard Day’s Night/ Twist and Shout and Back In The USSR.

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      2. That and the fact he wasn’t gimmicky or wild like Jerry Lee Lewis. He didn’t stand out.
        Thats great about Greg Kihn… I saw another interview with him back when he had hits how they influenced him and how he would not listen to a song unless it was 1974 or before…why that year I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. He was very enthusiastic in talking about the songs and The Beatles- He said when he saw A Hard Day’s Night he told his parents that was what he was going to do…… Fats- and he avoided scandal, when I think of him I think of him smiling. 35 Top 40 hits- that is impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I finished the Martin book (audio)…I want to get the hard copy now…but I watched A Hard Days Night again because of it…What a classic movie and motivator… I can see why Greg was excited. I wonder how many musicians that movie inspired?

        Very impressive. I still shake my head at the Pat Boone situation…He probably ended up helping the artists he covered by drawing attention to them.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I was reading up on Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally- he recorded the song so fast that he figured it would be too fast for Pat Boone to record— Boone did it- and it went to #8. Nothing against the man but what a soulless singer. At the time I figure the artists weren’t too happy but in the long run it did bring them attention they might not have gotten. … Kihn would have been 15 when A Hard Day’s Night came out- no doubt it inspired thousands upon thousands..

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      6. I didn’t know that about Little Richard…it was almost like a K-Tel version of whatever song was out..well worse. He was souless as can be.

        The movie is so smartly written…you have to pay attention at the small quips that are mumbled at times. I feel in love with the movie again. For not being actors they were great…they were being themselves but were not wooden.

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      7. I agree a great movie- great performances and smartly written. I think the black and white- also adds to it… I like Help! but its not even close to the quality of A Hard Day’s Night IMO. …..

        Liked by 1 person

      8. No I watched Help the next night…Help is lovely to look at. The colors are vibrant and they jump out at you. It still is better than most other rock movies but no, A Hard Days Night is a classic movie.

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      9. Glad to hear the Sir George book was a good one… Did you see they are sounding like a new edit of Let It Be could be released in a couple years?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. No I didn’t… I have been waiting for that for years. I sure hope they do it. I’ve read where Paul is not holding it up and he said he is the one that comes off looking bad in it but he still wants it out.

        I did like the book and I’m looking forward to the other… He does get some info from Mark’s book… but I found out info I didn’t know. The entire book moves along and doesn’t drag.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. What I am hearing is- I don’t think its official but the word is Yoko and Olivia have been the stumbling blocks.. and that the movie reportedly will be re-edited- taking out some of the unhappier moments from the original. I hope that isn’t the case. Add more too it yes- but don’t take from the original. .. and I saw the date on the White Album re-issue- different packages of course but the big one would be 2 discs of the original with Giles Martin as producer- and the other two discs the Esher demos. I am thinking I read November 12.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. It’s like they think they can erase history. Correct me if I’m wrong but the George – Paul argument is the only thing in the orginal movie that is a tense moment…now I’m sure there are a lot of unhappy moments in the out takes but I’m with you…keep the movie as is but add to it and clean the quality up.
        I’m looking forward to the White Album… I’m still wanting the long version of Helter Skelter.
        There is one release that has never happened…the “Carnival of Light”…I thought they would release it when they did Sgt Pepper.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Oh forgot to mention the Helter Skelter won’t be the 25 minute plus one- but it will be edited down to I think they said 12-13 minutes…. I agree I re-watched Let It Be a year or so ago and the only really bad moment was the Paul-George moment. It wasn’t exactly the most uplifting movie ever but it was what it was- a pretty fair document of how things were at the time. I think we can handle the truth. ..they’re are going to be some unreleased stuff too- don’t know exactly what. I guess that is less than 2 months away. I checked Amazon- its not on pre-order yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Well I will take what I can get on Helter Skelter. I really like those demos…the ones I’ve heard.

        56 hours of unreleased footage with Let It Be. What I wouldn’t give to watch it all… I can understand them not adding bad things.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Oh yes… I even love the chatter between songs…I listened to that Think For Yourself session over and over. They were so funny…Lennon was beyond funny.
        I would listen to the out takes all day.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. What I am hearing is- I don’t think its official but the word is Yoko and Olivia have been the stumbling blocks.. and that the movie reportedly will be re-edited- taking out some of the unhappier moments from the original. I hope that isn’t the case. Add more too it yes- but don’t take from the original. .. and I saw the date on the White Album re-issue- different packages of course but the big one would be 2 discs of the original with Giles Martin as producer- and the other two discs they

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fats Domino was my late mother’s favorite recording artist. She used to sing On the Bayou to me as a child. My brother and I played Fats songs at her funeral. I saw him in New Orleans about 35 years ago. He was awesome. He was so humble and at ease with the audience. He was shy. But oh my goodness could he play. He treated his instrument with respect. He didn’t push it too far though his mastery was such that he could have put Jerry Lee Lewis to shame. His brilliance was in his restraint and his ability to roll with the rhythm, playing on top like a fly fisherman. Loved him. Love him still.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is great you got to see him. He didn’t seem flashy at all…he just got to business. His voice as so smooth. I think that is the reason he is overlooked more than his peers like Jerry Lee Lewis…

      Liked by 1 person

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