Legendary New Orleans musician Fats Domino has passed away at the age of 89-years-old.
Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. was an American pianist and singer-songwriter of French Creole descent. Five of his records released before 1955 sold over a million copies and were certified as gold records. Domino had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40.
Domino’s musical style was based on traditional rhythm and blues, accompanied by saxophones, bass, piano, electric guitar, and drums.
— Dave Nussbaum WWL-TV (@Dave_Nussbaum) October 25, 2017
Mark Bone, chief investigator with the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office in Louisiana, confirmed his death to the Associated Press. Additional details were not immediately available.
Among the early rockers, Mr. Domino was rivaled only by Elvis Presley in record sales. He dominated Billboard magazine’s pop and rhythm-and-blues charts from 1955 to 1963. Moreover, Mr. Domino’s signature piano triplets — three notes for every beat — became the basis of rock and pop ballads for the next three decades, including such diverse recordings as the Beatles’ “Oh, Darling,” Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” and even Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place.’ ”
In a music style identified with rebellion, Mr. Domino wasn’t very rebellious in his approach. Unlike Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and any number of other flamboyant performers, he sang in a mellow voice and sported a wide grin on stage. His lone gimmick involved using his immense girth to push the piano to the front of the stage — and this he did only during his encore.
“He had a natural talent,” said rhythm-and-blues historian John Broven. “Yet he seemed to have little idea as to why he was famous, which only enhanced his charm and appeal. His biggest hits made rock-and-roll acceptable by appealing to all age groups and races. And he did it without compromising his New Orleans roots.”
Domino, who was born and raised in New Orleans, was one of eight children.
Louisiana Creole French was his Domino’s first language. Domino learned to play the piano from his brother-in-law, the jazz guitarist Harrison Verrett.
Even after Domino achieved success, he remained in his old neighborhood. While his large home was had enough for his 13 children, he still preferred to sleep in a hammock outside.