UPDATED: Fats Domino, one of the pioneering early architects of rock and roll via hits like “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Blueberry Hill,” died Tuesday at the age of 89. The most powerful, and certainly the most popular, of a generation of great Crescent City keyboardists, Domino rocked into the public consciousness in 1950 with the self-referential single “The Fat Man,” and in 1955 crossed over to pop success with the slamming top-10 hit “Ain’t That a Shame.” He became a pop star of the first rank with hits like “I’m in Love Again” (No. 3, 1956), “Blueberry Hill” (No. 2, 1956), “Blue Monday” (No. 5, 1957) and “I’m Walkin’” (No. 4, 1957).
His biographer Rick Coleman wrote, “As (Domino’s bandleader-arranger) Dave Bartholomew would later put it, Domino was the ‘cornerstone’ of rock ’n’ roll, inspiring many later legends who began their careers as Domino fans: Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, John Fogerty, Bob Marley and Bruce Springsteen.”
In 1986, he joined Presley, Berry, Holly and Little Richard as an inaugural inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Domino’s songs were covered by everyone from Elvis Presley to Pat Boone, from Cheap Trick to Jah Wobble, and as news spread of his passing, social media lit up with tributes. Among the first were from LL Cool J, Kid Rock, Harry Connick Jr., actors Wendell Piece (who starred in the New Orleans-based HBO drama “Treme”) and Samuel L. Jackson, and Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise, who was grievously injured in June when a gunman opened fire on a practice in Alexandria, Va. (He has since recovered and returned to work.) Over the next couple of hours tributes arrived from fellow New Orleans legend Dr. John, country artist Charlie Daniels, author Stephen King, Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson, pioneering rock guitarist Duane Eddy and Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards.
Martin Bandier, chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which controls many of Domino’s hits, said “He was of my childhood favorites who I helped financially after New Orleans was decimated by Katrina. I loved his music, and it was one of, if not the first rock and roll show I saw, in an Alan Freed revue.”
Rest in paradise to Fats Domino. He paved the way for so many. I remember listening to his music as a little boy. #Fatsdomino 🎶🎶
— LLCOOLJ (@llcoolj) October 25, 2017
— Dr. John (@akadrjohn) October 25, 2017
— Duane Eddy (@DuaneEddy) October 25, 2017
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) October 25, 2017
Fats Domino you brought me so many hours of pleasure. Rest In Peace Sir
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) October 25, 2017
We have lost a TRUE American treasure.
God bless you Fats!! RIP.https://t.co/Fgu25tRVf3
— Kid Rock (@KidRock) October 25, 2017
RIP fats domino… you helped pave the way for new orleans piano players… see you on top of that blueberry hill in the sky ❤️🙏🏼❤️
— Harry Connick Jr (@HarryConnickJR) October 25, 2017
Fats Domino’s songs were all over the radio when I was growing up. He was a great singer and piano player and his music will last forever.
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) October 25, 2017
I found My Thrill on " Blueberry Hill"! RIP Fats Domino
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 25, 2017
Words fail me in this moment of deep heartache and sadness. We have lost a legend. One of my heroes. New Orleans’ Fats Domino is dead. pic.twitter.com/HZNbQRI889
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 25, 2017
A New Orleans legend — Fats Domino will be missed. https://t.co/4HulGn1Q7W
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 25, 2017
RIP Fats Domino, one pf the last of the Founding Fathers. “Come on pretty baby, we’re gonna rock, gonna roll, until the early light.”
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 25, 2017