Wednesday, October 25, 2017

RIP Fats Domino

He was part of the 1986 inaugural Rock Hall Class.  And for good reason.  He brought the sounds of New Orleans to all of us and that is the reason he was one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll.  I could argue that Fats' place in Rock history has been underrated.  We tend to forget that from 1955-59 he was the biggest selling black artist in the U.S. (source: Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles Book). And sold more records than any other Rocker from the 50's except for Elvis Presley.

But Fats' influence is profound.  Let's be honest, every Rock and Roll piano player from Elton John to Billy Joel to Paul McCartney owes him a huge amount of gratitude.  Along with his Producer and songwriter Dave Bartholomew, he gave us records that were wholly unique.  Just perfect for Rock's early era.

My favorite Fats hit was 1958's #6 "Whole Lotta Loving", a record that sums up everything I Loved about him. And the record is less than 2 minutes!

A second favorite was not another uptempo song but the perfectly slow mood of 1960's #6 "Walking To New Orleans", a record whose mood I've always adored.

Below are just some of Fats Domino's records I love:

Fat Man
Goin' Home
Ain't That A Shame
I'm In Love Again
Blue Monday
My Blue Heaven
Blueberry Hill
Honey Chile
Poor Me
I'm Walkin'
It's You I Love
Valley of Tears
Whole Lotta Loving
I'm Ready
I Want To Walk You Home
Yes My Darling
I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
Be My Guest
What A Party
Let The Four Winds Blow
Big Beat
Please Don't Leave Me
Fell In Love On Monday
Walking To New Orleans
You Win Again
Lady Madonna

Most of Fats' original albums from the 50's/60's consisted of songs taken from various sessions.  Just about all are out-of-print on CD.  Even streaming sites are missing most of these.  YouTube is your best bet.

So, the best way to get to know him are through his many compilations.  Below are 4 that I always recommend:

My Blue Heaven: Best of  (1990)
They Call Me The Fat Man (1991 4CD Box set)
20 Greatest Hits The Way You Originally Heard Them  (2002)
Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans (2007)

How underrated is Fats Domino's legacy?  As of 2017, there's only been one book written about him. 2006's Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll by Rick Coleman was the first and amazingly the only biography available.  It's a good read, even if I wish it dug even deeper.  Fats deserves one of those definitive bios like the ones Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, etc., have gotten.

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