|Austin City Limits proudly presents a man whose name is
synonymous with rock ‘n' roll: Fats Domino. |
One of nine children, Antoine Domino Jr., also known as “The Fat Man,” was born in New Orleans on February 26, 1928. The Dominos lived in the Lower Ninth Ward and were a poor family, but they were not destitute.
“Singing the Blues” was the only musical note uttered in the Ninth Ward, but it was not with guitars, pianos, horns or harmonicas. Isolated from the rest of the city, the “blues” flourished and gave rise to a sensibility with a variety of instrumental accompaniments.
Domino grew up with “the blues,” but he was musically influenced by traditional jazz and, most importantly, Louis Armstrong. By the time he reached his late teens, Domino had created a style of his own and he played in local clubs in New Orleans.
Soon, Domino developed a following and his big career break came when Lew Chudd, president of Imperial Records, heard Domino play at “The Hideaway” in New Orleans. Chudd was very impressed and he signed him with Imperial Records. Years later, Chudd said, “Lloyd Price was on the same bill. I was offered Price, but I wanted the fat man who played the piano.” In 1949, only a few years later, Domino cut a song, fittingly called “The Fat Man.”
Following the success of “The Fat Man,” Domino recorded such songs as: “Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” “Careless Love,” “Swanee River Hop,” “Goin’ Home” and “Goin’ to the River.” He was part of the musical revolution of R&B, moving from black audiences into the larger, more lucrative market of young whites.
Finally in May 1955, “Ain’t That a Shame” made The Billboard Hot 100. Domino was the first New Orleans rhythm-and-blues artist to break the white charts. During that same year, a Billboard magazine poll of radio dee-jays voted “Ain’t That A Shame” Best Song and Fats Domino as their Favorite Artist.
Rough-and-tumble boogie-woogie is Domino’s unique style, but he also has a talent for country music. He has re-recorded songs by country artists such as “I’m Gonna be a Wheel Someday,” “Jambalaya” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Domino has an uncanny ability to touch all people, no matter which way their tastes in music run. Domino has a theory about country music: “Country/western is like R&B,” he said. “It tells a good story. That’s why country/western is so big.”