Fats Domino, the iconic New Orleans blues singer, passed away at 89 on Tuesday in his home in Harvey, Louisiana.
Through his career, Domino had over three dozen Top 40 hits and sold 65 million singles, with 23 gold records worldwide. He also inspired musicians like Elvis Presley and the Beatles. As his mainstream appeal grew, he began to break racial barriers with appearances on The Steve Allen Show and The Ed Sullivan Show, bringing his music to millions of living rooms across America.
Presley himself credited Domino as the real king of Rock and Roll. When asked about his musical innovations, Domino made it clear that the exciting new style of music had existed for years in Black American communities — far before it hit the mainstream.
"Well, what they call rock ’n’ roll now is rhythm and blues," he said. "I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans.”
Domino's contributions to music and the culture can't be overestimated. Following the news of his passing, celebrities took to social media to celebrate his life and work.
I found My Thrill on " Blueberry Hill"! RIP Fats Domino— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) October 25, 2017
Rest in peace Fats Domino. https://t.co/35OIl5nsGN— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) 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
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
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
RIP Fats Domino. All we have left are Chubby Checker and Pudgy Backgammon.— Abbi Crutchfright (@curlycomedy) October 25, 2017
R.I.P. to the one and only.... 🙏🏻 https://t.co/UJZ6M23jGw— Julian Lennon (@JulianLennon) October 26, 2017
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(Photo: Clive Limpkin/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)