Fats Domino on rare occasions teamed up with other Rock Hall of Famers. Two are notable. Performing on a 1971 local program on WDCA in Washington DC, Fats and the folk-rock band The Byrds appeared together on Turn-On, Barry Richards Rock and Soul. PBS's website posted the video which wasn't used in the American Masters episode Fats Domino and The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Fats Domino's death at 89, the same year that Chuck Berry passed, leaves few original rock pioneers. The New Orleans native came to personify the city, like Louis Armstrong before him and Dr. John, Allan Toussaint, Irma Thomas and the Neville Brothers after him. Born Antoine Dominique Domino in 1928, he was a product of New Orleans' Ninth Ward, He was taught by a brother in law and listened to black blues and boogie woogie pianists like Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson and singer-pianist Amos Milburn.
Domino was playing in a local R&B band in the late 40's before Hollywood-based Imperial Records signed him in 1949, alerted to him by local musician Dave Bartholomew. His hits had a consistent sound and distinctive New Orleans flavor courtesy of Bartholomew, who became his bandleader for many years and whose bands included some of the best players in New Orleans. Much of his best work was recorded at Cosimo Matassa's J&M studio in New Orleans. It's worth noting that before he became a household word in America, he was an established R&B star with 11 singles that charted nationally before 1955. Here are a couple. (Photo Credit: Tipitina Foundation)
This week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast remembers New Orleans studio owner and recording engineer Cosimo Matassa and Bob Crewe, the songwriter-producer who worked on many of the Four Seasons' best-known hits. Both died on September 11.