American Masters: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Fats Domino at the piano in a vintage publicity photo. 

Michael Ochs Archives - (Photo provided by Getty Images)

They lowered the flag and played Fats Domino records all day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where the legendary musician was in the first 10 honorees.

What could be more fitting?

In New Orleans, the pioneer who died at 89 was more than just the musician who sold 110 million records and created songs that have been copied by many other artists, and delighted other generations.

He was also one of the Lower 9th Ward’s icons, although living in Jefferson Parish since broken levees poured water through his home. And he never stopped helping, keeping his publishing house in the neighborhood.

“Fats Domino added to New Orleans' standing in the world, and what people know and appreciate about New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in tribute.

We know, especially those who sang along, or cried with joy, or both, in his performance at Tipitina’s a decade ago. It was a musical symbol of the determination of New Orleans and Louisiana to come back from the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

One of America’s originals is gone, but he will never be forgotten, especially here at home.