Today in 1928, Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino Jr. was born in New Orleans. Domino was among the most influential musicians in the history of rock and roll. During his life, he sold over sixty-five million records and had eleven Top 10 hits.
Over the course of his recording career, Fats released thirty-five records that made it to the Billboard Top 40. Five of his records released before 1955 made it to gold. His record "The Fat Man" is considered the first ever rock album to sell more than a million copies.
He was born into a French Creole family, and grew up speaking Louisiana Creole as well as English. His father played violin part time and held a day job at a racetrack. Fats was taught how to play the piano by his brother-in-law, a jazz guitarist named Harrison Verrett, in 1938.
He was married to Rosemary Domino in 1947. They had eight children together. He never moved out of the Lower Ninth Ward until he was forced to by Hurricane Katrina.
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During the fifties, Domino was one of the best-known acts in rock and roll. He was also one of the only R&B artists who had a white following. Domino insisted that he was not, in fact, a rock musician. "It wasn't anything but the same rhythm and blues I'd been playin' down in New Orleans."
His influence was enormous. Elvis once introduced him at a Las Vegas show with, "This gentleman was a huge influence on me when I started out."