Rock'n'roll legend Fats Domino dead at 89

Fats Domino
Fats Domino, 1928 - 2017 (Image credit: Hulton Deutsch \/ Getty Images)

Rock’n’roll pioneer Fats Domino has died. The pianist, most famous for hits like Blueberry Hill and Ain’t That A Shame, was 89.

Alongside Ike Turner, Domino was one of the first artists to effectively put together a band that, in hindsight, was recognisably rock’n’roll, even before the term was coined. The Fat Man, his debut single from 1950, beat Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock to the charts by over half a decade, and was the first of many million-selling singles.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city that remained his home until he died — famously, he refused to leave the city while it was evacuated during Hurricane Katrina — Domino learned to play piano at Community College, before joining a local band led by Billy Diamond.

He went on to record for Imperial Records, home to the likes of Ricky Nelson and Slim Whitman, where he released the classic Blueberry Hill, a song that went on to sell over five million copies worldwide.

In later years Domino stayed at home in New Orleans, leaving the city to accept invites to The White House and be accepted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1984. He was inducted by Billy Joel, who essentially thanked Domino for turning the piano into a rock’n’roll instrument.

The following year Domino received a Lifetime Achievement award at The Grammys, and in 1995 was given a similar award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

Domino gave his last public performance in 2007.

Musicians to have paid tribute to Domino include Harry Connick Jr, Billy Bragg, Michael Des Barres and Darius Rucker.

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