Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr., one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, has died. The legendary singer and piano player died Tuesday at his home in Harvey, La., following a long illness, according to media reports. He was 89.
Fats Domino began recording in the late 1940s and was responsible for some of the earliest records to be identified as “rock ‘n’ roll,” starting with his first recording, “The Fat Man.” Cut for Imperial, the record sold more than 1 million copies by 1953, and is believed to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record to accomplish that feat.
Domino went on to release a string of landmark tracks, including “Ain’t That a Shame” (1955) and “Blueberry Hill” (1956). From 1956 to 1959 he had hits with “I’m Walkin’,” “Whole Lotta Loving” and other songs.
He appeared in two landmark rock ‘n’ roll-themed movies released in 1956, “Shake, Rattle & Rock!” and “The Girl Can’t Help It,” which helped popularize the new youth-focused musical genre.
Domino continued to crank out hits, including “Walking to New Orleans” in 1960, and eventually placed 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40.
Here’s a live performance of “The Fat Man” by Fats Domino …