The on February 26th, 1928. Bandleader Bill

The Rock and roll genre has brought us many names that will never be forgotten. A significant amount of these names are recognized for their music as early as the 30’s. Although many artists have shared their influence in the world of music, what makes each of them unique and stand out from one another is the way they took events and emotions that came about throughout their lives and creatively expressed them in their works. There are many people who are aware of the works of artists such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, but one name that may not be as familiar to people today is Antoine Domino, or his more commonly used name “Fats Domino”.  Antoine Domino was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 26th, 1928. Bandleader Bill Diamond gave him this nickname at just 10 years old and, ever since then, he has been known as “Fats Domino”. At the age of 14 years old, Fats dropped out of school and sought after and obtained a day job that allowed him the ability to play at bars at night. Everyone could tell that Fats was music-oriented from a very young age, and would do anything he needed to play music. This notion after finding a job that allowed him time to play music demonstrated his love for it very well. Most people can find this information with a quick search on the internet. However, many people are unaware of certain aspects of his life that show how he differs from many other famous musicians and names that are thrown around in conversation regarding music from his era to present day. Fats had an exciting life, especially in his later years. Fats was experienced a tragedy that not everyone may relate to. However, he battled back, offered help to those who needed it through these times, and eventually settled back down.  As we know, Fats was born in New Orleans. This city was very significant to him. It meant so much that something as big as a hurricane would not persuade him to leave. In 2005, one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the United States struck. Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane, ripped through the city of New Orleans, Fats’ beloved hometown. By the time Katrina hit, close to 400,000 people living in New Orleans had evacuated. Fats Domino was not one of them. Fats chose to stay behind and weather the storm. He stayed behind partly because of his stubbornness, but mainly because his wife, Rosemary was not doing well health-wise. This shows how much Fats adored his home and neighborhood, which was also referred to as the Ninth Ward. He was quoted by writer Charles Amann saying “No, I am staying on, I went through the last one, and I can go on through this one.” Katrina hit, and it hit hard. Domino’s home was flooded, and he lost nearly all of his belongings. Among the items lost was his National Medal of Arts which was awarded to him by Bill Clinton in 1998 (Roisin O’Connor Music Correspondent). Fats was very humbled to receive the National Medal of Arts and was devastated when he lost it. Along with his medal, he also lost his grand piano that sat in his home.  For the fans of Fats, it was panic that set in. Many feared that the renowned artist was dead. One instance was even recorded of someone spray painting a message on his home that said “RIP Fats. You will be missed.”(Andrews). While Fats had lost most of his belongings, he still had it in his heart to go out and help relief efforts for the next few days. While offering his help in whatever way he could, he also donated his ruined grand piano to the Louisiana State Museum. Fats quickly showed the world that he was alive and well by releasing the album titled “Alive and Kickin'” in 2006. In this album, he sang about how New Orleans was his home and how he was not planning on leaving. Fats was also a loyal supporter of a non-profit organization called Tipitina’s Foundation, which protects and preserves the musical culture of New Orleans. Tipitina’s Foundation eventually restored the old home of Fats, but for everyone in the Ninth Ward, it just was not the same. Fats never returned to his old home. Even though he never saw his old home again, he did receive good news late in 2006. President George W. Bush visited Fats and awarded him with another National Medal of Arts, to replace the one Fats lost in Katrina.  Recovering from Katrina was tough for Fats just as it was for all of those living in the City of New Orleans. Later in 2005, Fats got back up on stage in efforts to bring his music back to life. He performed in front of a sell-out crowd at a New Orleans nightclub. A fan said it was emotional and people were crying as Domino took the stage possibly for the last time in his musical career. For this concert, it was not about the fans, it was about the revival and resurgence of Fats Domino. This concert helped Fats keep his late life music career alive. For all the things that Fats had been through in those recent months, this also raised his spirits a little bit. He knew now that people were still out there that loved him and his music. A documentary about Fats was also created and titled “Fats Domino: Walkin’ Back to New Orleans.” A greatest hits album was created around the same time as the documentary, which essentially rejuvenated the world’s love for Fats’ music. In 2007, the mayor of New Orleans declared January 27th as Fats Domino Day. Fats’ beloved wife died in 2008.  In 2009, Fats went to a benefit concert where the great artists Little Richard and B.B King performed, but Fats himself never got on stage to perform. Fats was not only known for his music, however. In 2012 Fats appeared in season three of the television show “Treme”, and played himself. In a USA Today interview, Fats once said “I hope it goes well with the Lord; that’s what I’ve got to prepare for. We’re only passing through. We’re a bunch of sinners, and time is passing on.” (Deerwester, McGrath). This quote shows the religious background of Fats, and how he believed that he was preparing to meet the Lord in heaven.  In his late life, Fats was not known to travel out of New Orleans. He loved his hometown, and did not like to leave the comfort of it. He also said that he did not like the food anywhere else, and the food in New Orleans was the best. Fats was also known for his bright pink Cadillac that he drove. Domino was as humble as they come, and he never wanted a fuss made about him. He was even insistent that he was just a piano player from New Orleans. He was a piano player from New Orleans, but his impact on his city, the music industry, and his his fans’ lives was so much more than that.  Fats died of natural causes on October 24th, 2017. He was surrounded by his family. He left behind his eight children. Living a life of 89 years, Fats impacted the lives of millions. He moved many with his music, and many to this day still adore him. He also did many things out of the kindness of his own heart. He greatly helped relief funds for Hurricane Katrina by going out on his own and helping, creating a charity album, and donating the money. Fats sold over 65 million records in his storied career and was the second leading seller of the 1950s only behind Elvis. Fats’ highest selling single, “The Fat Man”, was credited by some as the first ever rock and roll record. Fats was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier in his life in 1986, and also won a Grammy later that year (Beech). He was also inducted into the Delta Music Hall of Fame by a committee of musicians. They said his name rose to the top of the list because they wanted him to receive this honor while he was still alive. Fats’ other musical accolades include the Pioneer Award for the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and is in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Fats truly was a musical legend, and is currently ranked number 25 on the Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Artists list (Rolling Stone, 100 Greatest Artists).  Learning about Fats in the History of Rock and Roll has really shown me how much impact musicians and artists can have on the world. I believe that Fats loved music and loved using music as his way to reveal himself others. An artist, Ernest Evans, even loved Fats so much that he named himself Chubby Checker in honor of Fats’ name (BBC News). I have learned about the different aspects of Fats’ life that made him who he is. The thing that most intrigues me about Fats is how selfless he was. Many bad things happened to him over his illustrious life, but he never backed down. He stared life in the eyes and continued to live like nothing ever went wrong. He helped so many people along the way, even when things were not the best for himself, which is a defining aspect of him. Fats would do just about anything for anyone, and not many people have that same quality. Fats is missed by many, and he goes down as one of the best rock and roll musicians to ever walk the earth.