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Fats Domino, RIP

FatsDomino

New Orleans icon and rock n’ roll / rhythm n’ blues pioneer Antoine “Fats” Domino has died at age 89. His daughter told New Orleans’ WWL-TV that he died peacefully at his home with his family around him.

The always-reclusive and shy Domino had retired from performing shortly after Hurricane Katrina and had been in declining health over the past few years. He gave his last public performance in 2007 at Tipitina’s. In 2006, he famously at the last second backed out of a performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, though he appeared on stage, encouraged by Paulsen and others to smile and wave at the thousands of fans who had gathered to see him perform.

New Orleans Advocate music writer Keith Spera once called Domino the most significant contributor to the New Orleans musical canon, second only to Louis Armstrong. “And Domino’s bond with his hometown proved the more unbreakable.” That’s because although he traveled the world, often reluctantly, to perform – sometimes as many as 10 months out of the year- he was deep down a son of the Ninth Ward – so much so that he had to be rescued from his compound there after the levee breaches flooded the area during Hurricane Katrina. “It is difficult to imagine him habitating any other environment than his natural one,” Spera wrote. “You can take Domino out of New Orleans – rarely – but you cannot take the New Orleans out of Domino.”

His many hits include “Ain’t That a Shame,” “Blue Monday,” “I’m Walking,” and “Blueberry Hill,” and John Lennon once said “There wouldn’t have been a Beatles without Fats Domino.” Fats, you’ll be missed but your legacy and influence lives on. Listen to a few Fats Domino classics below.

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