Antoine "Fats" Domino, an integral part of early rock and roll and New Orleans R&B has passed away today at the age of 89 due to natural causes. Fats was known for his incredible skills on the piano combined with a soulful voice that seemed to encompass the passion behind New Orleans music. His first recording, The Fat Man is regarded as one of the first rock and roll records and eventually sold over one million copies by 1953.
By 1955 Fats began to merge into mainstream music with songs like "Ain't That a Shame" and "All By Myself". In 1956, his release of "Blueberry Hill" catapulted him to musical success as the single reached number two on the Top 40 charts and number one on the R&B charts for almost three months. The success of "Blueberry Hill" is even more impressive when considering the racially divided era it was released in. More hits such as "Blue Monday", "I'm Walkin'" and "I Want To Walk You Home" helped cement not only Fats Domino's legacy, but the legacy of New Orleans music and its importance to rock and roll.
Fats Domino went on to be one of the first members inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his contributions to the music we've all grown to love. He is also an inducted member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Elvis Presley was once quoted in an interview with Jet Magazine as saying "A lot of people seem to think I started this business, but rock ’n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Let’s face it, I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that.”
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, there was concern that Domino had died after he decided to stay in The Crescent City instead of evacuating for the historically devastating storm. Fats proved himself to be alive and well, even releasing an album in 2006 titled Alive and Kickin' and donating the profits to Tipitina's Foundation, which supports indigent local musicians.
The influence of Fats Domino's music lives on everyday in the music we hear online, on the radio, on television and live. His contributions, along with many other musical trailblazers should be celebrated for their part in creating the music we love and live by. Thanks Fats, rest in peace.