WASHINGTON – Legendary rhythm and blues pianist, singer-songwriter and rock and roll pioneer Antoine “Fats” Domino has died in New Orleans, his family said on Wednesday. He was 89.
Best known for Billboard Top 10 hits like “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame,” Domino sold more than 65 million records throughout his career (outselling all other rock and roll pioneers in the 1950s except for Elvis Presley) and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.
Domino’s death was confirmed by his daughter, who said the musician was accompanied by his friends and family in New Orleans (also his birth place) until his death Tuesday night.
His debut recording in 1949, “The Fat Man,” jointly written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew, was the first rock and roll record to sell more than 1 million copies.
Both Presley and Beatles front men John Lennon and Paul McCartney cited Domino as a key influence on their music, while the Fab Four met with the rhythm and blues artist when they gave a concert in New Orleans in 1964.
Domino had the distinction of being one of the first 10 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 1986, along with artists such as Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and James Brown.
He stopped recording music in the 1970s but continued to give concerts until the mid-1990s and remained in New Orleans throughout his life, even staying on after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and flooded his Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood in 2005.