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Remembering Fats Domino

On the news of his passing, Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore speaks with musicologist, broadcaster and former Jazz FM91 Morning Show Host John Donabie about the life and legacy of Fats Domino.



Fats Domino passed away in New Orleans on Tuesday October 24th. He was 89 years old.

With a career spanning more than five decades, producing over 25 gold singles and selling over 65 million records — and all in spite of his success and many accolades, Fats was always a very humble man with a smile that lights up a room

Antoine “Fats” Domino was born in New Orleans LA, in the lower ninth ward on February 26, 1928. His parents, Antoine Domino Sr. and Donatile Gros Domino were born in Vacherie, LA. Antoine Jr. was the youngest of eight siblings. During his adolescence he held many jobs ranging from working on an ice truck to working at the Crescent City Bed Factory. However, at a very early age he had an affinity for playing the piano. His brother-in-law, Harrison Verrett was very influential in his piano playing. Little did he know at that time that this would lead to an amazing career. Is unique piano style and voice what later attract millions from all over the world.

He married Rosemary Hall, his wife of 60 years and this union produced eight children. His music career began in 1949. He partnered with Dave Bartholomew, a bandleader and talented trumpet player, who produced and co-wrote his first record, “The Fat Man” in 1949. It was the first Rock and Roll record to ever sell over 1 million copies, soaring to No. 2 on the R&B charts.

Billy Diamond, his road manager, referred to him as “Fats” because the name was a symbol of importance and would be considered to be a classic. This this was just the beginning of a host of hits to follow. They Include “Blueberry Hill”, “I'm Walking”, “Ain’t That A Shame” and “I'm Walking To New Orleans”, just to name a few.

In 1986, Fats Domino received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On November 5, 1998, at The White House, he was awarded The National Medal of Arts from then President Bill Clinton. These are some of the countless awards he was honored to receive over the years.


Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore is heard at 8:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays during the Jazz FM91 Arts Report. And don’t miss his arts and culture interview and entertainment magazine program, Arts Toronto, Sundays between 8-9 a.m.

To get in touch with Mark it’s

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