Rock and Roll legend Fats Domino died Tuesday at his home in Harvey, La. He was 89.
Domino, named Rolling Stone’s 25th Greatest Artist of all Time in 2004, is often credited as one of, if not the, inventor of Rock and Roll. A contemporary of Ray Charles, Little Richard and Elvis Presley, Domino’s first recording, “The Fat Man,” sold one million copies between 1949 and 1953, and is considered the first Rock and Roll record to do so.
Domino’s sheer volume of record sales in the 50s came in second only to Presley during their careers. At a 1969 press conference, Presley once dubbed Domino the “real King of Rock and Roll.”
“A lot of people seem to think I started this business, but rock ‘n’ roll was here a long time before I came along,” Presley told an editor of Jet. “Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing it like Fats Domino can. I know that. But I always liked that kind of music.”
Domino released a string of singles including: “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blueberry Hill,” “I’m Walkin,” and “The Big Beat” among many others.
Many celebrities took to Twitter to express mourning and praise.
“I found My Thrill on “Blueberry Hill”! RIP Fats Domino,” wrote Samuel L. Jackson.
“One of my great honors in life was being a part of Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew’s induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. RIP,’ wrote Wendell Pierce.
“#FatsDomino: Another gift from NewOrleans. An entertainer & caring man; he gave us many thrills on the ride to freedom. May he RIP,” wrote Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
Born Antoine Domino, and a lifelong resident of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, his mansion was destroyed in the flooding from Hurricane Katrina. He lost his National Award for Arts, which was awarded by Bill Clinton, and his gold records. The medal was replaced by then-President George W. Bush and the records were replaced by Capitol Records.
Domino put out “Alive and Kickin” in 2006, an album of previously unreleased recordings from the 1990s. Proceeds went to Tipitina’s Foundation, a New Orleans nonprofit with the stated mission to preserve New Orleans’ culture of music and to support struggling and burgeoning artists.