Rundle: Fats Domino is gone and there won’t be another like him
Born in New Orleans Ninth Ward, where he lived until Hurricane Katrina drove him out, Fats Domino left school at grade four, and worked as an iceman’s apprentice, until his uncle taught him piano. And that was that.
Fats Domino, who has died aged 89, must surely be the last of the old rock'n'rollers to go. Maybe there’s a few minor players left somewhere: 90-something old upright bass players, now supine in old folks homes; saxophonists run out of breath. But Chuck, Ike, and now Fats; all the pioneers have now passed away.
With him goes a world already all but lost to our memory: an era before the amplifier and the solid-body electric guitar, when records were not cheap, and music was overwhelmingly live; when its most popular manifestations were segregated, the line seen by the powers-that-be as one dividing civilisation from something else; a period when the raucous, anarchic style known, since the 1930s, as rock'n'roll, had been developing far away from the world of radio, cinema and authorised entertainment, bubbling away for decades in juke joints and the black neighbourhoods of southern cities. A known quantity, but unspoken of, places to go, to "get some rockin", by blacks and some whites alike, a relic of modernity, when social life was still divided between the sacred and the profane.