Cheap Trick – Ain’t That A Shame

The song was written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew and Fats released it in 1955.

Fats Domino really liked Cheap Trick’s version of the song…reportedly it was his favorite cover version of his song. Domino gave Cheap Trick his gold record for his 1955 single, which is held by guitarist Rick Nielsen! That is really special.

The song peaked at #35 in the Billboard 100, #10 in Canada, and #24 in New Zealand in 1979. It was from the album Cheap Trick at Budokan in 1979. Dave at A Sound Day had a nice write up about the album…that is probably why I thought of this one. Another live version of song, recorded in 1999, was released on the 2001 album Silver.

I’m a huge Fats Domino fan…I first heard Fats on Happy Days as a kid. This song and Blueberry Hill are the first songs I remember by him.

This was the first song to crossover from the R&B charts to the mostly white pop charts of the day. Like several other songs previously heard exclusively in black bars or nightclubs, it was covered by the crooning Pat Boone.

Concerned about how people would respond to the title…Pat was going to change it to “Isn’t It A Shame” but the producers realized that would not exactly be the same.

Yea Pat Boone covered it…like he did other songs. I usually am not negative in my posts but no I don’t like Pat Boone’s renditions of those great rock and roll songs. Saying that…did it help the artists he covered? Yes it gave Domino and Little Richard’s songs a boost…it’s a shame (No pun intended) it took that to help Fats and Little Richard.

Pat Boone: “When I recorded their songs, my records of their songs sold 10 times that – and introduced them to the white audiences, or the pop audiences. So, they were grateful for my having recorded their songs. And of course, we became friends, as well.”

From Songfacts

This is a heartache song about a breakup that was the other partner’s fault. Domino wrote it with Dave Bartholomew, who worked on most of Domino’s hits.

Boone’s cover was a huge hit, going to #1 on the US Pop charts and reaching #7 in the UK. This gave Domino’s original recording a boost, and helped it cross over.

Like he did on “I’m Walking,” Domino made sure the beginning of this song was quite memorable, since if the hook comes right at the beginning, it’s more likely to be heard.

You may not know the lyrics, but you probably know how the song starts:

You made… (bomp bomp)
Me cry… (bomp bomp)
When you said… (bomp bomp)
Goodbye… (bomp bomp)
Ain’t that a shame

This was a favorite songwriting trick of Domino’s, as he looked for a good, simple section to start a song. And even though songs like this one were often attached to melancholy lyrics, it was the sound that Domino felt was important – if he could make it sound happy, it would evoke pleasant memories.

This was Fats Domino’s first hit song that was not recorded in New Orleans, where the singer lived. He recorded it on March 15, 1955 in a Hollywood studio when he was on tour in Los Angeles. Imperial Records had the engineers compress Fats’ vocals and speed up the song a bit to make the song sound less bluesy and give it more mainstream appeal. This also made it more difficult for other artists to cover the song.

In 1960, Domino recorded a sequel called “Walking To New Orleans,” where he leaves and goes back to his hometown.

This was used in the 1973 movie American Graffiti. It was also used in the movie October Sky.

Cheap Trick’s 1978 cover went to #35 in the US and helped make their At Budokan album a huge hit. A portion of the first guitar solo in their version, played by Rick Nielsen, is lifted from the opening harmonica riff from the Beatles’ “Please Please Me.” That same riff is also used in the guitar outro to the track “The House is Rockin’ (Domestic Problems)” from the band’s 1980 album Dream Police.
According to Nielsen, Cheap Trick got the idea to record the song after hearing John Lennon’s 1975 cover version. 

In 2007, this was used in commercials for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. >>

This was the first song that John Lennon learned to play. Lennon later recorded the song in a duet with Yoko Ono, and his fellow Beatle Paul McCartney also recorded the song.

A sample of this song is used as a response to an alien invasion in Buchanan & Goodman’s 1956 hit, “The Flying Saucer.”

Jon Batiste and Gary Clark, Jr. performed this in tribute to Domino at the Grammy Awards in 2018 along with “Maybellene,” in honor of another rock legend who died in 2017, Chuck Berry.

Ain’t That A Shame

You made me cry
When you said goodbye

Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

You broke my heart
When you said we’ll part

Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Oh well goodbye
Although I’ll cry

Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

You made me cry
When you said goodbye

Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Oh well goodbye
Although I’ll cry

Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

31 thoughts on “Cheap Trick – Ain’t That A Shame”

  1. I loved this live Cheap Trick recording, and even a few years later, probably played it too much in my college dorm room. (Sorry dorm mates.) I also love Fats Domino’s version. I had no idea that Walking to New Orleans was a sequel. I’ll listen to the words better from now on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Cheap Trick does a great cover, but I like the original best. I loved Fats Domino beginning as a little kid, as my much older half-brother (who was 16 years older than me) would play his Fats Domino, Everly Brothers and Elvis Presley records.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a hard time picking which one I would cover…so that is why I tried covering a little of both. I also love the Fats Domino version. I didn’t know he liked the Cheap Trick version so much…I’m sure the money it brought in helped.
      Domino gets lost sometimes in the 50s mix…with Elvis, Chuck, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis… Fats was unassuming and great.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the plug and link! I like the Cheap Trick version better, but then again, it was the one I heard first & grew up playing. It was probably at least a year after the Budokan album that I ever heard the Fats Domino version. Now to look up the unreleased demo of Pat Boone singing “That is a shame, is it not?”, LOL…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I’m sorry for the steal…I didn’t realize I was taking your topic until I was almost done…I thought…why did I think of this??? Oh yea…Dave! I thank you for helping me decide.

      I heard the Fats Domino first because of Happy Days…this one and Blueberry Hill…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now ‘Blueberry Hill’, that I do remember from my youth. Could be from being in ‘Happy Days’… I don’t recall that spefically but I sure loved that show at the time.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw them in 1984 with a special one hour show in Opryland. They went over their time and Rick started Daytripper and had to stop because of time… they put on a great show.

      I would love to see them again. I can’t believe they were opening.

      Like

      1. It’s not like it sounds. These were bands that were traveling together and taking turns opening for each other. I went to one up in the DFW area and Bryan Adams opened for Def Leppard. Their next show, wherever it was, Def Leppard opened for Bryan Adams. Wherever DL & CT went next, DL would have opened for CT. DL & Journey did the same thing, too. AC/DC always traveled alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Def L was the hotter band at the time I believe but I’m just a huge fan of Cheap Trick.

        That is cool taking turns like that. I know they all had a good time

        Like

      3. Oh ok … I was thinking it was the 80s for some reason…ok that makes sense now. That would have been a good show. I saw them in 84.

        Like

    1. true story…my dad grew up in middle Tn and went to high school briefly with Pat Boone… my dad got into a fight with him over a girl…I never asked who won but my uncles told me that…I’m proud of my dad for that! Never cared for Boone!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An all time great cover from one of the best live albums ever. Funny how live albums were my entry point with three bands in the late 70s..
    KISS with Alive 2
    Judas Priest with Unleashed In The East
    and
    The Tricksters will Budokan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right…with Cheap Trick and Kiss …those albums open the doors for them…or was it Alive or Alive II that opened it for Kiss?

      What is cool about this to me is that Fats Domino gave them his gold record for it because he liked it so much….that is cool when the writer does that .

      Liked by 1 person

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