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Sun, 02.26.1928

Fats Domino, Pianist, and Singer born

Fats Domino, 1962

*Fats Domino was born on this date in 1928.  He was a Black pianist and singer-songwriter.  

Antoine "Fats" Domino Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the youngest of eight children born to Antoine Caliste Domino and Marie-Donatille Gros. The Domino family was of French Creole background, and Louisiana Creole was his first language.  He was born at home with the assistance of his grandmother, a midwife. His name was initially misspelled as Anthony on his birth certificate.  His family had recently arrived in the Lower Ninth Ward from Vacherie, Louisiana.  His father was a part-time violin player who worked at a racetrack.  He attended Howard University, leaving to start work as a helper to an ice delivery man.  

In 1938, Domino learned to play the piano from his brother-in-law, jazz guitarist Harrison Verrett.  He married Rosemary Hall-Domino in 1947 until she died in 2008; the couple had eight children: Antoine III, Anatole, Andre, Antonio, Antoinette, Andrea, Anola, and Adonica.  Even after his success, he continued to live in his old neighborhood, the Lower Ninth Ward, until after Hurricane Katrina, when he moved to a suburb of New Orleans.  

During his career, Domino had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40, and five of his pre-1955 records sold more than a million copies, being certified gold.  His musical style was based on traditional rhythm and blues, accompanied by saxophones, bass, piano, electric guitar, and drums.  His 1949 release "The Fat Man" is regarded as the first million-selling rock and roll record. His two most famous songs are "Ain't That A Shame" and "Blueberry Hill."  Fats Domino died on October 24, 2017, at his home in Harvey, Louisiana, at the age of 89, from natural causes, according to the coroner's office.  

One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records.  Between 1955 and 1960, he had eleven Top 10 hits. His humility and shyness may be one reason his contribution to the genre has been overlooked.  On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Fats Domino among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.  

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