Oct 26, 2017

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.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


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.

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9 thoughts on “Rundle: Fats Domino is gone and there won’t be another like him

  1. Saugoof

    “Fats Domino, who has died aged 89, must surely be the last of the old rock’n’rollers to go.” – That ignores the, for my money, greatest of them all, Little Richard who is still around.

    I always loved Fats Domino, “Going To The River” is one of the greatest records ever made.

  2. John Newton

    Sure hope he found his thrill.

  3. zut alors

    ‘… whose music rolled more than rocked…’


  4. Decorum

    The last? Your picture has him with Killer (who is to Fats in piano skills as Trump is to Obama in integrity but who is, nevertheless, surely an “old rock’n’roller”) and he’s still with us.

  5. old greybearded one

    Fats had a cool voice. I don’t rate the abusive Ike Turner. Chuck Berry had that great rhythm and drive, and a witty turn of phrase, Elvis had a genuinely great voice as well. Fats and Chuck also contributed a certain style to their playing. The easy swingy blues of Domino was a lovely sound. Heaven rest him well.

  6. Lister Harrison

    I thought Jerry Lee Lewis was still alive (he’s the one on the left in the photo).

  7. brendan wynter

    I like your new picture. Friendly and approachable.

    1. MAC TEZ

      I can’t agree BW. While your picture looks friendly and approachable (if a bit cartoon-ish), I prefer GR’s old picture with the goatee and a bit of a snarl as it hinted at a hard edge and a quick wit. Now he looks a bit soft and probably slow.
      He used to look like he was going to tell me to feck off, now it feels like he’s about to offer me a slice of cake to go with the cuppa.

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