Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Fats Domino Dead at 89

Fats Domino, the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer whose hits include “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame,” has died. He was 89. New Orleans station WWL-TV confirmed the news, noting that Domino’s daughter said he died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family.

Domino was born on Feb. 26, 1928, in New Orleans, the city he called home for most of his life. He died in nearby Harvey, La., but made his name in Crescent City, where he got his start recording R&B records in the late ’40s. His first big hit, “The Fat Man,” was released in 1949 and set him on a course for the approaching decade. Before he even reached the pop chart, he had placed a dozen songs in the R&B Top 10.

He scored his first crossover single in the early ’50s but hit his peak just as rock ‘n’ roll music was breaking out across the country. His first Top 10 song, “Ain’t That a Shame,” in 1955 gave way to dozens more hit singles over the next decade. He scored 10 more Top 10 songs over the next five years, including “Blueberry Hill,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m Walkin'” and “Walking to New Orleans.”

His last charting single came in 1968 with a cover of the Beatles’ “Lady Madonna.” It was a fitting end to an impressive run that included more than 75 charting singles. The Beatles, along with pretty much every other group that formed over the next decade, were hugely influenced by Domino.

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