ANTOINE "FATS" DOMINO, February 26, 1928-

Fats Domino was one of the most consistent rhythm and blues hit-makers of all-time. He wrote and recorded rock standards years before "rock ‘n’ roll" became a household phrase. His engaging, inimitable style helped facilitate the transition of popular R&B artists to the pop charts at the outset of the rock era.

A lifetime New Orleans resident, Domino taught himself the popular piano techniques of his day, including the blues, boogie-woogie, and ragtime. In the mid-1940s, local band leader Dave Bartholomew hired him as his regular pianist. This job led to his 1949 recording contract with the Los Angeles-based Imperial label, and the Domino-Bartholomew songwriting partnership.

His debut single, "The Fat Man" (Imperial 5058; 1950), was a Top Ten R&B hit. For a dozen years, Domino would release at least one Top Ten single every year; his number one R&B releases included "Goin’ Home (Imperial 5180; 1952; #30 pop), "Ain’t That a Shame" (Imperial 5348; 1955; #10 pop), "All By Myself" (Imperial 5357; 1955), "Poor Me" (Imperial 5369; 1955), "I’m In Love Again" (Imperial 5386; 1956; #3 pop), "Blueberry Hill" (Imperial 5407; 1956; #2 pop), "Blue Monday" (Imperial 5417; 1956; #5 pop), "I’m Walkin’" (Imperial 5428; 1957; #4 pop), and "I Want to Walk You Home" (Imperial 5606; 1959; #8 pop). Despite the drop-off in chart singles by the early 1960s, he remained in demand as a theater and nightclub attraction. Furthermore, his albums continued to sell well. When he moved to ABC-Paramount in 1963, Imperial retained many of them in the catalog, most notably Rock and Rollin’ With Fats Domino (Imperial 9004; 1956), Fats Domino – Rock and Rollin’ (Imperial 9009; 1956), This Is Fats Domino! (Imperial 9028; 1957), and Million Sellers By Fats (Imperial 9195; 1962). He recorded for a number of other labels as well in the 1960s, including Mercury, Sunset, and Liberty/United Artists.

By the 1970s, Domino had cut back sharply on his concert tours, limiting his out-of-town work largely to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. His recordings were more widely available in England and Europe than at home; American fans often found it necessary to seek out import anthologies. He has continued to record and perform intermittently in the recent years. His first major-label LP release in twenty-five years, Christmas Is a Special Day (1993), received critical acclaim but had limited sales.

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