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Remembering rock n' roll legend Fats Domino

pbs.org
Antoine Dominique Domino Jr., or just Fats Domino, passed away at the age of 89.
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The world of music lost one of its pioneering giants on Tuesday.

Antoine “Fats” Domino, a leading member of the early rock ‘n’ roll movement in the 1940’s and 1950’s, died at the age of 89 in Harvey, Louisiana. The Jefferson Parish Medical Examiner in Louisiana ruled the entertainer died of natural causes.

In the 1940’s, African American musicians were regarded as less than "reputable" entertainers. Audiences focused more on the jazz standards and big band swing rather than music that was coming from the urban parts of the country.

Before Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry took the United States by storm with the new sound of rock ‘n’ roll, there was a man from New Orleans who’s been credited with creating the genre out of nothing.

Domino was a struggling musician in the back-alley clubs of New Orleans playing jazz and blues for patrons and tourists. Working for little to no money, Domino got his chance when asked to play at a backyard barbeque hosted by Billy Diamond.

In 1947, Diamond was a famous bandleader that worked on the southern music circuit.

He would often play for various fairs and music halls alongside performers like Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.

Diamond was impressed enough to invite Domino to play with his band called the Solid Senders in the Hideaway Club in New Orleans.

He accepted and his career skyrocketed.

Domino incorporated pieces of the jazz and blues with the rising sound happening in the south. It was a wave of music that involved electric guitars and a heavier drum element mixed with piano and an all-together louder sound.

This would become rock ‘n’ roll.

By 1949, Domino had a record deal with Imperial Records to record his first major produced album to be spread nationwide.

On this album, many music historians have said that his song “The Fat Man” was considered the first rock ‘n’ roll song ever produced on an album.

Domino became one of the most prominent musicians of the 1950’s and into the 1970’s. On the Top 40 billboard, he would occupy the top five periodically over 30 times. Out of the 30 times, 23 songs were hits that went gold.

Throughout his career, Domino would inspire talented musicians in the decades to come. Entertainers like Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry, Norah Jones and John Legend have all mentioned his inspiration in their work.

It wasn’t just music that he revolutionized; he reimagined a world with mixed audiences enjoying the same music. In his music, Domino, along with others, was able to bridge the gap between white and African American audiences.

In 1986, Domino was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Officials from the institute said, “We cannot stand in the house of rock ‘n’ roll without one of the cornerstones to be a part of it.”

It was in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.

Domino still lived in the state and was rescued by a National Guard helicopter. His house and belongings were all destroyed. After this tragedy, Domino became an active member of the community and a philanthropist during times of crises.

When news broke of Domino’s death, entertainers went to social media and paid respect to the rock ‘n’ roll titan.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson wrote on his Twitter, “I found My Thrill on “Blueberry Hill”! RIP Fats Domino. Rapper and entertainer LL Cool J wrote, “Rest in paradise to Fats Domino. He paved the way for so many. I remember listening to his music as a little boy. #FatsDomino.”

Rest in Peace Fats Domino.

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Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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