Rock and Roll Pioneer Fats Domino Dead at 89

Domino's music would have an influence on Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Fats Domino, one of the most influential and beloved American rock and roll pioneers, has died. He was 89.

Domino passed away at a private residence early Tuesday morning, according to the Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in Louisiana. His cause of death has not yet been revealed. 

The “Blueberry Hill” singer was born Antoine Domino Jr. in New Orleans in 1928 and was the eighth child in a French Creole family.

He would go on to sell 65 million records, outselling every rock artist of the 1950s with the exception of Elvis Presley. 

In 1947, Domino was asked to join New Orleans bandleader Billy Diamond to play piano in his band. It was Diamond who gave the pianist the moniker “Fats,” which stuck forever.

Diamond gave him the nickname because Domino’s playing style reminded him of iconic pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon, according to reports.

He was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain attention and popularity with a white audience and his single, “The Fat Man,” is credited by some historians as the first rock and roll record. 

Domino would have an influence on Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Domino’s style would inspire Paul McCartney to write one of The Fab Four’s most beloved songs, “Lady Madonna.”

McCartney has said that he wanted to emulate the New Orleans pianist’s style in that song.  

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 as one of its first members. As he got older, he would seldom leave New Orleans. By the turn of the century, he would hardly perform. 

New Orleans musicians like Harry Connick Jr. and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, released statements on social media about his passing.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson also paid tribute to Domino on Twitter. 

Hip-hop pioneer LL Cool J described how “Blueberry Hill” inspired him as he paid tribute to Domino.

Irish musician Hozier also honored the musician in a tweet.