Synopsis of Pop Music
“I found my thrill,
On Blueberry Hill…”
Down in the delta, in the heart of bayou country, in the middle of New Orleans’ bustling jazz/blues/r&b scene lie the roots of rock and roll. Out of that cultural and musical stewpot emerged one of rock and roll’s earliest and most enduring superstars: Fats Domino. A New Orleans native himself, Domino teamed up with trumpeter/producer Dave Bartholomew to write and record some of the most popular r&b/rock and roll crossover hits of the late 50’s and early 60’s. In the process, they not only paved the way for later down-South artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, they helped set the stage for rock and roll itself.
Born Antoine Domino, the young pianist took the stage name ‘Fats’ from his most obvious characteristic—his rather large girth. With that ample frame came a mellow, honey-sweet voice, which combined with his rambling, honky-tonk piano style to make him a popular attraction on the New Orleans circuit. Dave Bartholomew, out on a scouting mission for Imperial Records, signed Domino to the label in 1949 and helped him rewrite “Junker’s Blues” as “The Fat Man,” Domino’s first record and one of the earliest proto-rock-and-roll recordings.
“The Fat Man” was an instant smash on the r&b charts, and the two men combined for several r&b hits over the next few years—“Every Night About This Time,” “Rockin’ Chair,” “Goin’ to the River” and the r&b-chart-topping “Goin’ Home” among them. Domino also hit the road, delivering his laid-back blues to a national audience. The touring paid off with his first crossover pop hit in 1955, the classic “Ain’t That a Shame,” which went to #10 on the pop charts. Domino’s style hadn’t changed in the six years since “The Fat Man” (nor would it for the rest of his career), but mainstream audiences were starting to warm up to what would soon officially be dubbed rock and roll. They still preferred the likes of Pat Boone to Domino, however, as the clean-cut young white man scored a #2 hit with his own version (which he preferred to call “Isn’t That a Shame”).
Competing versions aside, “Ain’t That a Shame” sparked the beginning of an amazing chart run for Fats Domino. Between 1955 and 1963, the piano man would hit the Top-40 more than 35 times, and several more songs charted in the Top-100. “Bo Weevil,” “I’m in Love Again,” “My Blue Heaven,” and “When My Dreamboat Comes Home” kept the hits coming in 1956, capped off by Domino’s signature song, his definitive cover of “Blueberry Hill.”
At the same time Domino’s pop chart success carried him into million-selling singles territory, his songs were completely dominating the r&b charts. Domino’s singles were routinely knocked out of the top spot by his other singles, creating dynasties that lasted for months on end. “Blue Monday,” “I’m Walkin’,” “”Valley of Tears,” “Whole Lotta Loving,” “I Want to Walk You Home,” “Be My Guest” and “Walking to New Orleans” all went Top-10 on both the r&b and pop charts, and Domino’s Top-40 legacy continued through a 1963 version of the blues favorite “Red Sails in the Sunset.”
As important as Fats Domino’s music was to the burgeoning rock and roll era in the U.S., it was equally important to the bands that would launch the British Invasion in the mid-1960’s. Domino, Little Richard and Chuck Berry all had a huge impact on bands like the Beatles, who would adapt the bluesmen’s style and sound on their early recordings. In tribute to the band that had paid tribute to him, Fats Domino recorded his final charting hit, a #100 cover of the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna,” in 1968.
Fats Domino’s mainstream success cooled as the newer sounds of the British Invasion began to take over, but his music remained as infectious as ever. Domino continued to record and perform well into the 1990’s, releasing the occasional live album and recording an album of holiday tunes in 1993. The legendary honky-tonk man was also among the first inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, a well-deserved tribute to the man who helped bring rock and roll to the world in a major way.
Artist Release History1955 - Carry on Rockin'
1956 - Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino
1956 - This is Fats Domino
1958 - Here Stands Fats Domino
1958 - The Fabulous Mr. D
1959 - Let's Play Fats Domino
1959 - Fats Domino Swings
1961 - I Miss You So
1961 - Let the Four Winds Blow
1962 - Million Sellers By Fats
1963 - Here Comes Fats Domino
1964 - Fats on Fire
1965 - Fats Domino '65
1965 - Getaway With Fats
1968 - Fats Is Back
1970 - Very Best of Fats Domino
1971 - Cookin' With Fats
1973 - Live at Montreaux
1979 - Sleeping on the Job
1990 - My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino (Volume One)
1990 - All-Time Greatest Hits
1992 - The Best of Fats Domino Live, Vol. 1
1992 - The Best of Fats Domino Live, Vol. 2
1992 - Greatest Hits: Live
1993 - Out of New Orleans
1993 - Christmas Is a Special Day
1998 - Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino/Million Sellers By Fats
1999 - Legends of the 20th Century
Pop Sub Categoriesrock