If I say to anyone born in the previous century: ‘I found my thrill….’, they all respond ‘… on Blueberry Hill’.
No more unfortunately will that tune be sung by its most famous singer.
Today we lost the warm, fun-loving pioneer of rock and roll ‘Fats Domino’ who sold 110 million records worldwide.
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New Orleans is in mourning for one of its greatest artists who reached the age of 89 before passing peacefully at home today, surrounded by friends and family.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">RIP fats domino… you helped pave the way for new orleans piano players… see you on top of that blueberry hill in the sky ❤️❤️</p>— Harry Connick Jr (@HarryConnickJR) <a href="https://twitter.com/HarryConnickJR/status/923192884467257349?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">25 October 2017</a></blockquote>
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To make you aware of how great and important he was, Elvis Presley referred to him as "the real king of rock n roll" whilst Beatle Paul McCartney admitted that their song ‘Lady Madonna’ was written copying Fats’ style.
Antoine ‘Fats’ Domino was born in 1928, just before the great depression as the son of a violinist. Parents of Creole origin, Fats was fluent in French and English. At age 14 only he left school to work in a factory and play in bars at night, having found his gift for music.
In the 1940’s he wrote his first hit, called ‘The Fat Man’. He went on to have great worldwide hits with ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Ain’t That A Shame’. After that, it was a rollercoaster till he retired a decade ago.
Fats said about his humble beginnings: "I was 17 when I made my first record in 1949. I never thought about being professional. I used to work in a lumberyard and that's where I first heard a number on a jukebox and I liked it. It was a piano number. It was called 'Swanee River Boogie' by Albert Ammonds."
His biggest hit, Blueberry Hill, was in fact written by another New Orleans great, Mr Louis Armstrong, who put it to a record in 1927 to mediocre success. When Fats recorded it in 1957 and put it to the tune of rock ‘n roll it became a true hit.