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Music / Fats Domino

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The real King of Rock & Roll, according to Elvis Presley.

"I'm walkin', yes indeed, and I'm talkin'
About you and me, I'm hopin'
That you'll come back to me, yeah-yeah..."

Antoine "Fats" Domino (February 26, 1928 – October 24, 2017) was an African-American Rock & Roll/R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist from New Orleans who was one of the stars of the first wave of rock and roll in the 1950s. Among his best-known hits are "Blueberry Hill", "I'm Walkin'", "Ain't That a Shame", and "Blue Monday". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 as part of the inaugural class.

Not to be confused with Fats Waller.

"I found my trope/On Blueberry Hill":

  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: His children are Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola and Adonica. Oh, and there are eight of them.
  • As Himself: On Season 3 of Treme, and in his younger days in The Girl Can't Help It where he played "Blue Monday".
  • Big Fun: It's where he got his name. His first hit was called "The Fat Man."
  • Bowdlerization: "The Fat Man" was originally a Champion Jack Dupree song called "Junker's Blues" about a heroin junkie and filled with drug references. Fats performed it live regularly before he had a record deal and the crowds loved it. When he got the chance to cut a record, everyone involved knew the song wouldn't sell well with the original lyrics, so they wrote a whole new set. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price (with Fats on the piano) was a further rewrite of the rewrite.
  • Celebrity Survivor: A Real Life example. The Coast Guard rescued him from Hurricane Katrina.
  • Cover Version: Several. "Blueberry Hill" was originally by Glenn Miller. He later recorded, among others, Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart," The Beatles' "Lovely Rita", "Lady Madonna" (the original had already been done In the Style of Domino) and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey."
  • Creator Provincialism: By the 1980s, he decided that he would not leave New Orleans under any circumstances. Even having his piano ruined by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 didn't drive him away.
  • Crossover: A few times. Not just from R&B to mainstream pop. He had a Cameo in Any Which Way You Can, which led to him scoring a hit on the Country Music charts titled "Whiskey Heaven."
  • Dance Sensation/Singer Namedrop: "Dance with Mr. Domino," which is about the "Domino Twist."
  • "Days of the Week" Song: "Blue Monday"
  • "I Am" Song: "The Fat Man" "I'm in the Mood for Love", "I'm Walkin'", "I'm Ready", "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday," "I'm in Love Again"
  • Intercourse with You: Fats had one of the earliest proto-Rock'n'roll hits with "The Fat Man", a boasting song about his sex appeal.
    "They call, they call me the fat man
    'Cause I weigh two hundred pounds
    All the girls they love me
    'Cause I know my way around"
  • "I Want" Song: "I Want to Walk You Home"
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Blue Monday":
    "Sunday morning my head is bad
    But it's Worth It, all the times that I've had"
  • One-Woman Song: "Hello Josephine", "Ida Jane"
  • Questioning Title?: "Ain't That a Shame"
  • Record Producer: Dave Bartholomew, himself a formidable singer-songwriter, produced all of Fats' big hits, and helped write most of them as well.
  • Respected by the Respected: Elvis Presley may be forever revered as the King of Rock 'n' Roll, but he considered Fats Domino to be more worthy of the title.
  • Silly Love Songs: Many of his songs fall somewhere in this category. Goes with the times.
  • Something Blues: "Korea Blues", "Detroit City Blues," "Trouble Blues"
  • The Something Song: "Rooster Song," "The Prisoner's Song"
  • Unbuilt Trope: His 1959 hit "Be My Guest" sounds for all the world like a Ska song, especially with the choppy rhythm guitar and the horns, except for the fact that Ska hadn't been invented yet. Indeed, Domino played a notable role in the history of Ska. He was a big star in Jamaica at the time, since New Orleans radio stations playing R&B could easily be heard there at night. He was rapturously received during a 1961 Jamaican concert tour. No less than Bob Marley himself cited Domino as one of his early music heroes. While Domino and lots of other New Orleans artists played around with rhythms and had songs which emphasized the off-beat, the way he did it on "Be My Guest", with the guitar being the dominant rhythm instrument, was hugely influential on the island's music scene.