The king of the boogie-woogie piano has died in Louisiana. He was 89.
If you have never herd of mr. Domino you are missing quite a catalog including more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,” “Ain’t It a Shame,” “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans. He had a sound all his own.
Even the King himself showed respect to mr. Domino.
“A lot of people seem to think I started this business,” Presley told Jet magazine in 1957. “But rock ‘n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that. Apparently Fats Domino was fat.
The Times describes his looks like this: Rotund and standing 5 feet 5 inches — he would joke that he was as wide as he was tall — Mr. Domino had a big, infectious grin, a fondness for ornate, jewel-encrusted rings and an easygoing manner in performance; even in plaintive songs his voice had a smile in it. And he was a master of the wordless vocal, making hits out of songs full of ‘woo-woos’ and ‘la-las. Also it should be noted that from an early age Mr. Domino had is path chosen for him. Although he impacted it by his choices and friends.
“Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. was born on Feb. 26, 1928, the youngest of eight children in a family with Creole roots. He grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where he spent most of his life.
Music filled his life from the age of 10, when his family inherited an old piano. After his brother-in-law Harrison Verrett, a traditional-jazz musician, wrote down the notes on the keys and taught him a few chords, Antoine threw himself at the instrument — so enthusiastically that his parents moved it to the garage.
He was almost entirely self-taught, picking up ideas from boogie-woogie masters like Meade Lux Lewis, Pinetop Smith and Amos Milburn. ‘Back then I used to play everybody’s records; everybody’s records who made records,’ he told the New Orleans music magazine Offbeat in 2004. ‘I used to hear ’em, listen at ’em five, six, seven, eight times and I could play it just like the record because I had a good ear for catchin’ notes and different things.
He attended the Louis B. Macarty School but dropped out in the fourth grade to work as an iceman’s helper. ‘In the houses where people had a piano in their rooms, I’d stop and play,’ he told USA Today in 2007. ‘That’s how I practiced.
In his teens, he started working at a club called the Hideaway with a band led by the bassist Billy Diamond, who nicknamed him Fats. Mr. Domino soon became the band’s frontman and a local draw.
‘Fats was breaking up the place, man,’ Mr. Bartholomew told The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2010. ‘He was singing and playing the piano and carrying on. Everyone was having a good time. When you saw Fats Domino, it was ‘Let’s have a party!'” (new york times, 2017.) updated on October 26, 2017 at 7:34 am includes life history and his looks.