Fats Domino, Rock & Roll Archetype, Dead at 89

Source: PBS

A cause of death has yet to be revealed

Rock & Roll pioneer and piano prodigy, Fats Domino, has passed, according to The New Orleans Times-Picayune. He was 89 years old.

Domino, born Antoine Domino Jr, was an electric talent and stage performer, known for rapid-fire riffs and an archetypal rhythm that would define rock & roll. He holds more No. 1 records than any artist prior to 1955, out-selling virtually every contemporary except for Elvis, accruing 65 million units in his lifetime. Though a platinum certification did not exist at the time, he would have been the first to attain it, as his debut single “The Fat Man” is commonly referenced as the first rock & roll song to sell a million copies. And though many consider him a forefather to the genre, Domino was always clear about the newly-minted phenomena’s origins. In a 1956 interview, Domino stated: “What they call rock and roll is rhythm and blues, and I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”

NOLA, both his birthplace and lifelong place of residence, has crowned him as one of its many kings. In fact, he was rescued from his balcony by boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm claimed his home and the accolades of a rare legacy, washing away dozens of gold plaques that once adorned its walls, and left his piano in irreparable condition.

To this day, the tarnished grand piano that once furnished his home is on display at the Louisiana State Museum.

Rest in rhythm, Fats. There’ll never be another.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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