Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino Jr. (born February 26, 1928) is an American R&B and rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Domino is French Creole and Creole was his first language. Domino was delivered at home by his midwife grandmother. Like most families in the Lower Ninth Ward, Domino's family were new arrivals from Vacherie, Louisiana. His father was a well known violinist, and Domino was inspired to play himself. He eventually learned from his uncle, jazz guitarist Harrison Verrett. Fats released five gold (million-copy-selling) records before 1955. Domino also had 35 Top 40 American hits and has a music style based on traditional R&B ensembles of bass, piano, electric guitar, drums, and saxophone Domino first attracted national attention with "The Fat Man" in 1950 on Imperial Records. This song is an early rock and roll record, featuring a rolling piano and Domino doing "wah-wah" vocalizing over a strong back beat. "The Fat Man" sold one million copies by 1953. Fats Domino released a series of hit songs with producer and co-writer Dave Bartholomew, saxophonists Herbert Hardesty and Alvin "Red" Tyler and drummers Earl Palmer and Smokey Johnson. Other notable and long-standing musicians in Domino's band were saxophonists Reggie Houston, Lee Allen, and Fred Kemp, Domino's trusted bandleader. Domino finally crossed into the pop mainstream with "Ain't That A Shame" (1955), which hit the Top Ten, though Pat Boone characteristically hit No. 1 with a milder cover of the song that received wider radio airplay in a racially-segregated era. Domino eventually had 37 Top 40 singles. Domino's first album, Carry on Rockin', was released under the Imperial imprint, No. 9009, in November 1955 and subsequently reissued as Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino in 1956.Combining a number of his hits along with some tracks that had not yet been released as singles, the album went on under its alternate title to reach No. 17 on the "Pop Albums" chart. His 1956 version of the 1940 Vincent Rose, Al Lewis & Larry Stock song, "Blueberry Hill" reached No. 2 in the Top 40, was No. 1 on the R&B charts for 11 weeks, and was his biggest hit. "Blueberry Hill" sold more than 5 million copies worldwide in 1956–57. The song had earlier been recorded by Gene Autry, and Louis Armstrong among many others. He had further hit singles between 1956 and 1959, including "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" (Pop No. 14), "I'm Walkin'" (Pop No. 4), "Valley of Tears" (Pop No. 8), "It's You I Love" (Pop No. 6), "Whole Lotta Loving" (Pop No. 6), "I Want to Walk You Home" (Pop No. 8), and "Be My Guest" (Pop No. 8). Domino appeared in two films released in 1956: Shake, Rattle & Rock! and The Girl Can't Help It. On December 18, 1957, Domino's hit "The Big Beat" was featured on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. On November 2, 1956, a riot broke out at Fats Domino's show in Fayetteville, NC, with police resorting to tear gas to break up the unruly crowd. Domino jumped out of a window to avoid the melee; he and two other band members were slightly injured. Domino continued to have a steady series of hits for Imperial through early 1962, including "Walkin' to New Orleans" (1960, Pop No. 6), co-written by Bobby Charles, and "My Girl Josephine" (Pop No. 14) from the same year. After Imperial Records was sold to outside interests in early 1963, Domino left the label: "I stuck with them until they sold out," he claimed in 1979. In all, Domino recorded over 60 singles for the label, placing 40 songs in the top 10 on the R&B charts, and scoring 11 top 10 singles on the pop charts. Twenty-two of Domino's Imperial singles were double-sided hits.
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