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Legendary Pianist And Rock’n’Roll Pioneer Fats Domino Dies, Aged 89

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The rock’n’roll pioneer born Antoine Domino, Jr, better known as Fats Domino, has died, aged 89, in his New Orleans hometown.

The pianist, renowned for his era-defining songs, including ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Ain’t That A Shame’, shaped the face of rock’n’roll music in the 50s, and was an influence on everyone from Elvis Presley to The Beatles.

Though Domino is famed for playing the piano, he also played saxophone, guitar and drums, and, with a series of recordings made in the early 50s, laid the groundwork for the rock’n’roll explosion.

He had over 30 Top 10 US hits in his career, and enjoyed five million-selling successes before 1955. “What they call rock’n’roll is rhythmn’n’blues,” he said in 1956, the year that Elvis Presley stormed into the public consciousness. “And I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

In acknowledgement of his contribution to music, Fats Domino was among the first inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in its inaugural year, 1986, taking his place alongside other rock’n’roll pioneers Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Thirty years later, he was still being hailed as a pioneer, and was inducted into the Rhythm And Blues Hall Of Fame on 21 August 1961.

While he made few public performances in his later years, Domino made a rare appearance in a 2012 episode of Treme, the TV drama that examined the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans community. Domino lived in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward for much of his life and survived the devastating effects of Hurrican Katrina despite initially refusing to leave the area, so that he could stay at home to look after his ill wife. Domino and his wife were eventually helicoptered to safety.

Domino, who earned the nickname Fats from one of his former bandleaders, Billy Diamond, died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family, according to his daughter Karen Domino-White, speaking to the New Orleans-based broadcaster WWL-TV.

Explore our Fats Domino Artist Page.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Bill

    October 25, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    He was inducted in the R&B Hall in 2016.

    • Barbara Rieck

      October 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      1986 in die Rock and Roll Hall of Fame und 2003 in die Blues Hall of Fame

  2. Sal

    October 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Danced to many of his songs. He will be missed

  3. The Debono Family

    October 25, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    What a true legend of rock and roll music, he once said music makes me happy, and what I create is for the kids and I’m glad, I’m walkin to New Orleans, I’m Walkin, To Blueberry Hill, with you Fats all the way Thanks for those wonderful songs, RIP, from all your fans Downunder

  4. Sixstring

    October 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    🙁 RIP to a Sweet, kind man… who just happened to be a great legend. Article mentions Elvis a cpl times. Reminds me Elvis told a National press Corps in 1969 Fats was King. He knew what was up.
    And Fats respected Elvis too, they were longtime friends. Elvis would tribute Fats sometimes during his live shows if Fats was in the crowd, and long after Elvis was gone years later Fats would always do a tribute to Elvis in his own shows. One of my friends knew Fats, and Fats told him that Elvis helped him out in the 1960s when he was having money problems.
    RIP to them both.

    RIP to ALL those greats from that era.

  5. Steve Honey

    October 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    One of the RnR greats. REST IN PEACE, FATS DOMINO

  6. David Baron

    October 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Fats helped get Ricky Nelson on the charts with the song “I’m walking”

  7. Surat Ratakulthip Thailand*

    October 26, 2017 at 12:55 am

    He’s the great of R&R RIP

  8. DJ Miller

    March 28, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    the first record I wanted to buy with my new paper route money was “Ain’t That a Shame”. Mmy friend’s dad who ran the record store in our little town didn’t have it in stock ..”could order it for$1.40 Dave but for a $1 more I can get you an album with the song on it” he said so Fats Rockin and Rollin came to my house ….change my musical life (1953)

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