Antoine Domino was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1928. There he became influenced by the music of Fats Waller and Albert Ammonds.
“Fats” signed with the Imperial Records label in 1949 where he got immediate attention with his first single, “The Fat Man.” This song reportedly sold a million copies.
However, that would be it for the hits for six years, when he gained national recognition again. This time with his recording of “Ain’t That A Shame.” In the meantime, Fats played and sang on many sessions of other R&B artists, including Lloyd Price and Joe Turner.
Fats also appeared on the big screen, including the films “Shake, Rattle And Roll”, “Jamboree”, “The Big Beat” and “The Girl Can’t Help It.”
In 1963, Fats moved to the ABC-Paramount label, but like so many artists of the 1950’s, the British Invasion took its toll and all but ended his trips to the Top 40. He only scored once for his new label with “Red Sails In The Sunset.”
On the charts, Fats made it to the Billboard weekly Top 40 charts 37 times. Although he had eight #1 singles on the R&B charts, he never managed to have a #1 single on the pop charts. Here’s a look at Fats Domino’s twenty biggest hits, according to the weekly Billboard Top 40 (Pop) Charts.
1. Blueberry Hill – 1956 – Fats biggest hit was a Grammy Hall of Fame Award Winner in 1987 and it also was a #1 hit for Glenn Miller in 1940.
2. I’m In Love Again – 1956
3. I’m Walkin’ – 1957– also in 1957, Ricky Nelson recorded and performed this song on his parents television show and went to #4 on the weekly charts, as did Fats.
4. Blue Monday – 1957 – originally recorded by Smiley Lewis in 1954, Fats version was included in the 1956 film, “The Girl Can’t Help It.”
5. Whole Lot of Loving – 1959
6. Walking To New Orleans – 1960 – Bobby Charles wrote this song after meeting Fats, who invited Charles to his home in New Orleans, but Charles didn’t have a car and told Fats he’d have to “walk” there. Reportedly, Charles wrote the song in 15 minutes.
7. It’s You I Love – 1957
8. Valley of Tears – 1957 – the B side to It’s You I Love (see #7).
9. I Want To Walk You Home – 1959 – in 2007, Paul McCartney and Allan Toussaint covered this song for the album “Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino.”
10. Be My Guest – 1959 – the flip side, “I’ve Been Around”, also went Top 40.
11. Ain’t That A Shame – 1955 – his first hit single, it was originally titled “Ain’t It A Shame.” Pat Boone took this song to #1 in 1955 and brought recognition to Fats version.
12. My Girl Josephine – 1960 – the B side, “Natural Born Lover, also went Top 40.
13. When My Dreamboat Comes Home – 1956 – originally recorded by Guy Lombardo who took it to #3 in 1937.
14. Three Nights A Week – 1960
15. Let The Four Winds Blow – 1961 – Fats last Top 20 hit.
16. I’m Ready – 1959
17. I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday – 1959 – the flip side of “I Want To Walk You Home” (see #9)
18. My Blue Heaven – 1956 – Gene Austin and Paul Whiteman took this song to #1 in 1927, the flip side of “I’m In Love Again” (see #2), “My Blue Heaven” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978.
19. Don’t Come Knockin’ – 1960 – the B side of “Walking To New Orleans” (see #6).
20. Sick and Tired – 1958
Fats Domino didn’t like leaving his hometown of New Orleans and even refused to attend his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and an invitation to the White House. But, in August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, it was feared that Fats was dead, when he hadn’t been heard from by his agent before or after the hurricane. CNN reported on September 1st that Fats and his family had been rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter and taken to a Baton Rouge shelter.
Fats Domino has received many awards, including being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1986, in 1987 he won Grammy’s Hall Of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Now in his eighties, Fats makes rare appearances, most notably, in 2009, at a concert in New Orleans to raise funds to help rebuild schools and playgrounds affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Fats Domino passed away from natural causes on 10/24/2017 at the age of 89.