“The Fat Man,” New Orleans singer-pianist Fats Domino’s recording debut and first hit, has been selected as a 2016 inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the hall announced Wednesday.
Domino’s “The Fat Man,” recorded on Dec. 10, 1949, at Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studio in French Quarter, is one of 26 new additions to the Grammy Hall of Game.
“The Fat Man” is based on “The Junker’s Blues,” a local blues standard recorded in 1941 by singer-pianist Champion Jack Dupree.
Producer Dave Bartholomew rewrote the drug-related “Junker’s Blues” lyrics, transforming them into a semi-autobiographical story about Domino.
The song’s tempo was dramatically increased, too, for an arrangement performed by local musicians including drummer Earl Palmer, bassist Frank Fields and saxophonists Alvin “Red” Tyler and Herbert Hardesty.
In the Domino biography “Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock ’n’ Roll,” Rick Coleman writes about the singer, aka the Fat Man, standing on the corner of Rampart and Canal streets watching “Creole gals.”
“The Fat Man” session at J&M continued for nearly six hours, Coleman adds. Bartholomew, described by Matassa as stern taskmaster, insisted upon making a simple recording that would be commercially viable.
Released by Lew Chudd’s Los Angeles-based Imperial Records, “The Fat Man” made Domino, then 21, a star and a rock ’n’ roll pioneer.
“Ella and Louis,” a 1956 album by New Orleans native Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, will also be inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame class.
Other 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame inductees include Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” John Coltrane’s 1961 album “Lush Life” and Roberta Flack’s 1969 album “First Take.”
Also recordings by The O’Jays, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Dylan and The Band, John Lee Hooker, Fleetwood Mac, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, the Pretenders, The Zombies and others.
The Grammy Hall of Fame acknowledges singles and albums in all genres. Recordings must “exhibit qualitative or historical significance” and be at 25 years old.
The new titles bring the number of Hall of Fame recordings up to 1,013. They’re on display at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.