FATS DOMINO

Fats Domino - a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they call him the Fat Man. With his easy-rolling boogie-woogie piano and smooth rhythm & blues vocals, Antoine "Fats" Domino put a New Orleans-style spin on what came to be known as rock and roll. A pianist, singer, and songwriter who was born in the Crescent City in 1928, Domino sold more records (65 million) than any Fifties-era rocker except Elvis Presley. Between 1950 and 1963, he cracked the pop Top Forty thirty-seven times and the R&B singles chart fifty-nine times.

Domino's biggest songs are as winning as his broad smile. They include "Ain't That a Shame," "Blueberry Hill," "I'm Walkin'," "Blue Monday" and "Walking to New Orleans."

Domino was born into a musical family and, like such New Orleans piano greats as Professor Longhair and Amos Milburn, began performing for small change in local honky-tonks while working odd jobs to make ends meet. By 1949, Domino had become a fixture at the Hideaway Club. That same year he met Dave Bartholomew, who became his longtime producer, bandleader and collaborator. It proved to be a fortuitous partnership that yielded a bounty of durable, straight-ahead New Orleans rhythm & blues records.

While less of an outgoing personality than some of his extroverted rock and roll contemporaries, Domino exhibited staying power based on the solid musicality of his recordings and live performances. In short, he all but dominated the Fifties, insofar as rock and roll was concerned.