With his rolling, boogie-woogie piano style and amiable voice, “The Fat Man” sold more records than any other rock ‘n’ roll singer in the 1950s, except Elvis Presley.
Fats Domino grew up in New Orleans in a musical family and began playing the city’s honky tonks, where he was discovered by trumpeter and Imperial Records A&R man Dave Bartholomew, who became his indispensable collaborator. His 1949 R&B hit “The Fat Man” is regarded as one of the first true rock 'n' roll records, and when Domino found a pop audience in 1955, he did it without changing his pure New Orleans R&B style. His breakthrough “Ain’t That a Shame” was followed by “Blueberry Hill,” “Walking to New Orleans,” “Blue Monday” and others — in all, he had 37 Top-40 singles.
Domino was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and received a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 1987 and a National Medal of Arts in 1998. In 2005, his home was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and he and his family had to be rescued during the storm.
Domino died Oct. 24, 2017 at his home in Harvey, La. He was 89.