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Blakeview: 65th Anniversary of the recording of "The Fat Man" by Fats Domino

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This week marks the 65th anniversary of one of the seminal recordings in the history of not just New Orleans music but American rock 'n' roll. On Dec. 10, 1949, Antoine "Fats" Domino, just 21 years old at the time, walked into Cosimo Matassa's studio on North Rampart Street and recorded "The Fat Man," the single that would start him on a path to stardom. Written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew, the song is widely credited as one of the first records to launch the rock 'n' roll genre. It was recorded for Lew Chudd's Imperial Records and featured Earl Palmer on drums, Frank Fields on bass, Ernest McLean on guitar and four saxophone players: Herb Hardesty, Clarence Hall, Joe Harris and Alvin "Red" Tyler. The song is a play on "Junker's Blues," with words by Bartholomew. According to Domino biographer Rick Coleman, the recording session lasted about six hours. The flip side of the record was "Detroit City Blues," a song also penned by Bartholomew. But it is "The Fat Man" that has endured, with Fats' boogie woogie piano and classic "wah-wah" falsetto. Released in January 1950, "The Fat Man" reached No. 2 on the R&B charts by February. By 1953, "The Fat Man" had sold 1 million copies. It was just the first of many chart-topping hits by Domino and Bartholomew during their careers.

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