Rock ‘n’ roll legend FATS DOMINO passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 89. His daughter says he died at home, surrounded by family. He died of natural causes, and had been in declining health for a while.
He was born in New Orleans, and basically spent his whole life there.
He retired from performing shortly after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when he was 77. That ended a 60-plus year career . . . because he got started early. By the time Fats was 14, he was playing piano in bars in the New Orleans area.
His parents gave him the name ‘Antoine Dominique Domino Jr.,’ but his first bandleader nicknamed him ‘Fats’ because he reminded him of the pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon . . . and also because of his appetite.
Fats had 35 songs on the Billboard Top 40. He had 11 Top 10 hits from 1955 to 1960, and he was selling more records than everyone except Elvis Presley. Overall, he sold over 65 million records.
Some of his biggest hits were: “Ain’t That a Shame”, “The Fat Man”, “Blueberry Hill”, “I’m in Love Again”, “Blue Monday”, “I’m Walkin'”, “Whole Lotta Loving”, and “Walking to New Orleans”.
Fats was one of the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. The next year, he got a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. “Rolling Stone” magazine has him at #25 on their list of the ‘Greatest Recording Artists of All Time.’
Fats toured extensively until the early ’80s, when he decided that he no longer wanted to leave New Orleans . . . because it was the only place he liked the food.
He didn’t even leave his house in the Ninth Ward when Hurricane Katrina flooded his neighborhood, partially because his wife wasn’t doing well. There were reports at the time that Fats was missing, and some thought he was dead. But then word got out that he’d been rescued by helicopter.
He said, quote, “I wasn’t too nervous . . . I had my little wine and a couple of beers with me. I’m all right.”
He last performed publicly in 2007.
A bunch of musicians have been paying tribute to Fats. Little Richard called him “the greatest entertainer he’s ever known.”